It amazes me how naive people can be, the other day a friend of mine was shocked when I told her that I knew things about her that she thought were secret. Her problem steams from the fact that she is a member to many social media sites. And she got rather upset when I said that she didn’t look too bad for a 38 year old who liked Brittany Spears and her favourite toy was called Rabbit? That’s when her mouthed dropped and she told me to shut up. The worst part is that I had only got down to item three on a list of twenty items about her, and all this I found by tracking her social footprint on the web. She had no idea that she had left a social trail behind her for a cunning, but harmless fox like me to discover.
Most people have typed their own name into Google or their girlfriends and boyfriends just out of curiosity or was it to see if they can find out any juicy bits of gossip. I remember a friend of mine who is gay, before he came out of the so called closet. His mother searched for her son on-line only to be confronted with information about her sons sexuality that she should have got from him directly, anyhow I digress, getting back on track. People expect that if they type their name into Google, Google will display all available information about them period. Well that just isn’t the case because deep down in the bowels of the internet lurks something called “deep web” also known as “invisible web” and guess what? Deep web isn’t indexed by the search engines. This content can be assessed on-line but cant be indexed by the normal search engines, most of the info is stored in databases and displayed in response to specific searches by the owners however, there are tools easily obtainable and free that allows you to open this content. When I say content I’m talking about such content as family photos, your favourite foods, musical tastes, wish lists and so on.
So how is the info retrieved from the invisible web, there are services called People Search Engines and it is these that can index the parts of the web that Google can not reach. Okay so you want to search for information that Google doesn’t crawl? Like I said there are a number of so-called people search engines to start off with, lets look at one called Spokeo.com with this nifty piece of kit you will be able to find information on your enemies, families, loved ones, or even the next door neighbour. With Spokeo there is a facility to import your entire e-mail address book.(There is a disclaimer that says “Your email and password are required to retrieve your email contacts, and will not be used again to access your email account”) If you want to dig deep into your pockets, well to be honest it’s not that deep, and pay a few dollars a month the software will monitor your contacts and let you know if they are doing something new on line and report back to you.
Looking for a new job or brand new career, well don’t let your past history of fooling around with social media sites go against you. Yes Human Resource Departments use social search utilities to carry out your background checks! There’s nothing illegal in this in fact wouldn’t you wont to know if you were looking to employ someone who had an interest in something that didn’t fit in with your companies behaviour values and in fact went in the opposite direction?
To summarize social search utilities or people search engines are utilities that uses your e-mail address to find people across the invisible web. It will spider all the social networks that you can imagine and at the moment there are a grand total of 41 this includes Twitter Tweets, Dig Comments, Amazon Wish lists, Flickr photo streams and a whole lot more. So what does this mean? Well if you just take one off the media channels lets say photos. It could mean that ad hoc photos of all your boyfriend or ex-girlfriend’s that you shared on Flickr a few years ago or even longer will pop up under your name when someone searches for you. Now when you start looking at other sources your favourite music sites, your shopping tastes or your preferences for adult toys it may become somewhat embarrassing. Going back to my friend, who by the way, is now talking to me, I found her information on an old MySpace profile, the majority of the other information was on review sites and even Amazon wish list which made quite interesting reading. I hope this article has given you a little bit of insight to the type of information that is freely available but now that you know what type of information is out there you can decide whether to change or remove it and you can do this by visiting people search engines
Sebastian Harley – Traveller and internet entrepreneur simple internet marketing tips and other general PC knowledge that will make surfing the web easier and safer.
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