Long ago (who can still remember end of year 2006?) Time Magazine declared “You” as the person of the year. While “You” were all doing all about “You” stuff (sharing, uploading, downloading, iPhoning, facebooking) you have established a profile which sets your social needs (your “social self” as called). Youngsters as well as leading business figures are constantly managing their profiles, updating their music preferences and personal photos, blogging their thoughts, twittering their daily (mostly up to hour) experiences. All are creating a new friendly “You”.
Pew Internet & American Life Project released this week a report based on a 2006 survey, showing internet users are indeed managing their online presence. Moreover in a world of transparency, internet users admitted they search for online information concerning others. (I wonder why Pew Internet releases a report on study conducted a year ago? Imagine what will be the results today…)
Checking up on personal details online:
47% of internet users have searched for their own name online (up from 22% – in 2002).
Interestingly, internet users who encounter information about themselves online report that most of the content they find is correct. Fully 87% of self-searchers who locate information connected to their name say that most of what they find is accurate (up from 74% – in 2002).
Most internet users are unaware / unconcerned about the extent of the data available about them online: 60% of internet users say they are not worried about how much information is available about them online. 38% of internet users say they have taken steps to limit the amount of online information that is available about them.
Personal information available online:
- 33% of internet users say the following pieces of information are available online: their email address, home address, home phone number or their employer.
- 25% of internet users say a photo, names of groups they belong to, or things they have written that have their name on it appear online.
- Few internet users say their political affiliation, cell phone number, or video appear online.
Peeking on others:
- 53% of internet users have searched online for information about personal and business contacts.
- 33% of internet users say they have searched for information about someone with whom they have lost touch.
Information searched for:
- 72% of people searchers have sought contact information online.
- 37% of people searchers look to the Web for information about someone’s professional accomplishments or interests.
- 33% of people searchers have sought out someone’s profile on a social and professional networking site.
- 31% have searched for someone’s photo.
- 31% have searched for someone else’s public records, such as real estate transactions, divorce proceedings, bankruptcies, or other legal actions.
- 28% have searched for someone’s personal background information.
20% of internet users say someone has reached out to reconnect with them after finding their contact information online.
And again, imagine the results today – One year later!
(practical tips: for reputation management service see- Reputation Defender).
The report (“Digital Footprints: Online identity management and search in the age of transparency.” ) is based on a December 2006 national telephone survey of 2,373 adults, of whom 1,623 are internet users.