Google Stalking: Your on Online Identity is Your Brand

After reading this editorial, I did something I haven’t done for a while, I Googled myself. The last time I Googled myself was over a year ago and I couldn’t find myself. Rather a British comedienne came up … sigh. This time I was rather surprised that I came up 3rd on the Google stack via LinkedIn and Lulu. So what’s my brand ? — well, if you can figure out which “Jennifer Brister” is which, I’m the “Onna Otaku” (though, I’m not into Yaoi). If you are a Google stalker, then there are 3 other online identities to track me by — two of them are linked to Amazon. The other online identity is linked to my maiden name and you have to look pretty deep to find me. I found myself a few years back and it was linked to a video advertisement I did for a software company when I was a Structural Engineering grad student. I was a tester for some Engineer-in-Training software and they asked me for a statement. Of course they used some editing trickery and caught me in a very silly moment … sigh…

Anyhow, take some time to find yourself. You may be surprised. I think about online identity a lot. Am I comfortable being “Onna Otaku?” Am I comfortable knowing that others who know me may be stalking me online? Am I comfortable about what they may find? I often edit and re-edit my external blogs in an effort to maintain control over my image. It’s tough, though. I learned an interesting lesson a few weeks ago when I wrote a blog entry in my manga blog about a manhwa I was reading that I felt was particularly misanthropic. A few days later I removed the entry only to discover that another blog had picked up the entry. It was a blog that focuses on gender identity in comics and looking at the analytics, this blog sent a lot of referrers to my blog. I was surprised and felt a little twinge of guilt for betraying myself, so I reposted it. Yes, this is who I am and this is what I genuinely felt about that particular manhwa and it mattered to somebody other than me. But does it bother me that my online identity and in-person identity could collide if people from work read it? Yes. I know that it matters because you never know who is stalking you online and for what reason, but in the end I thought more about who my intended audience is, and it’s people who share a similar passion for anime and manga and that helped me settle into comfort.

I occasionally Google stalk my little brother to see what he’s up to. It looks like he’s cleaned up his online identity, which is good now that he’s graduated from college and looking for a job.

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