Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Vanity Search and the Social Meter

The quick and dirty of a vanity search is to search one's own name on an Internet search engine such as AltaVista, Google, Yahoo or whatever. But to sort through the inevitable onslaught of extraneous information, you have to refine your search. It can be a fun exercise as well. What about your civic side? Search on your name and your city. What about your artistic side? Search your name and your art form. What about your civic arts side. Search your….. OK, you get it. Wait, one more. Search on your name with your middle initial for your formal side.

One of the benefits, or risks, is discovering how many people in the world happen to share your name. Depending on how common or unique your name is, you can be buried or exposed if someone is looking for information about you. For me, it was a bit of a shock back in the early-mid 1990’s when I found a gentleman with my name, my occupation and some of my former work experience (we were both at Microsoft at one time) living in the same city as me. We didn’t overlap entirely in our profession but enough so that I would have the occasionally confused client.

Specialty vanity style searches are becoming more prevalent. If you are into research paper references then check out scholar.google.com to see who is referring to your work. Perhaps you are interested in where you may have appeared in print. Check out books.google.com.

For those into blogging I have a great site for you to check out. If you are a blogger who is interested in knowing where you fall on the popularity scale, check out www.socialmeter.com. The aggregator site counts up references and mentions of your blog and blogging then adds them up to a total score. There is no accompanying rating system that goes from “nobody notices me” to “omigod I'm soooo popular”, but is an interesting tool none the less.

Local Tacoma blogs that fare very well include many linked to from this page. Both www.exit133.com and www.kevinfreitas.net score over a 1000. With this post I will have increased their scores by one. This blog, Living and Working, is pretty new and relatively narrow in scope. That's how I can handle my score of 3. For now. (I linked to myself to see if I could make it a 4.)

UPDATE It appears as if SocialMeter is no more. It was always more a project than a product and the domain name now resolves to www.engrade.com.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting. Is there a way to correct inaccurate information one finds about oneself on the web?

Andrew Park said...

COOL!! I tried it with many other websites, and the result was very interesting!

Andrew Fry said...

It can be addictive Andrew. One person who posted about the social meter said that he kept going back to watch his numbers rise.

Anonymous: It depends on where the information is coming from as to whether you can correct it. Two examples from me. I mentioned early on in this blog of a theater review that was positive of my performance but gave the wrong actors name. I wrote the reviewer and it was corrected both in his blog and in the online version of the paper that carried the review. However, the printed version would allows carry the inaccurate information. I also mentioned Zoominfo. If you wish to correct information about yourself, they allow you to contact them, claim who you are and verify or correct information there.