Thursday, September 5, 2013

Online Images

Do you see what I see?

So do you think that your pictures are private that you post on your blog or social media site? Guess again! Just visit "google images" and type in your name. Interesting things will pop up. I saw a picture of my neighbor friend from when I was a kid, my daughter in her cheerleader outfit, pictures of my family, pictures that I have posted on this blog and others, pictures of my Dad from his obituary, pictures of things that I
The first photo I saw on my search.
have pinned on Pinterest.

 Of course, not all of the images were from me but a lot were related somehow. Some were not related at all like a series of pictures of a woman sunbathing in a bikini. It's weird to me to think that someone can just type in my name and see parts of my life. I guess that is the price we pay for having an online digital presence. A good reminder that what you put online is truly out there for the whole world to see and once it has gone into cyberspace you don't have much control over where it ends up.

So this of course, gets me typing in names of other people. People I work with, city officials, friends from high school, family, neighbors all of them come up. It's kinda creepy!

 It helps if you have a different or unusual name. My husband has such a name and almost all of the pictures that came up were related. My friend Jill Hansen has a name that is so common that indeed I couldn't actually find anything about her in the photos until I entered her maiden name as well. On my own name I could tell what was related and what was from another person or just random but it gets harder on other people's pages. What would somebody else who googled my name think of that woman in the bikini? Is she related? Is that me? (um, no). Have I posted or viewed that photo in the past? (um, no again) Be careful if you try this experiment! I put in my brother-in-laws name (a very common one) and a nude photo of a man, (not him!) came up on the list. Yikes!

I know that googling yourself has been around almost as long as has existed but this process with google images seems far more personal. You see into a person's life. It's like big brother could just type in your name at random and see what is online with your image. Scary because I don't think it is possible to get an accurate view of someone with so many random factors involved in an online search.  A good reminder to think twice about what you post.

Michele Schumann
Children's Librarian

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