Finding you online?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Engels, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. Engels

    Engels New Member

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    Mar 7, 2012

    If all goes well, in under two years I will be a qualified secondary school teacher.

    Being Generation Y I spent a lot of my time growing up on the internet. I've been active on the internet since I was about eleven. And from then until I was eighteen I did and said things that, because I was a child, I'm not proud of. As all of us do when we're growing up, only the curse of my generation is that some of it may be immortalized online.

    This is probably my only worry about being a teacher. I will be teaching a lot of tech-savvy teenagers and I will probably do a lot to irk them. Is there any way that I can prevent them from finding things I said online when I was young and reckless? Surely I couldn't teach with a pseudonym, so what are my options? Do any teachers currently worry about this?
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Mar 7, 2012

    I think that you can pay certain companies to erase or limit your searchability. I haven't ever used one of those companies because I don't feel a need to do so. First, I'm pretty okay with just about everything I've said and done online. Second, almost nothing I've said or done online is connected to my real name. If you google my name, all you find is some references to academic work I did while in grad school and a link to my private Facebook page. Neither of those things is especially controversial or anything. I'm not too worried.

    What sorts of things did you say or do online that are making you nervous?
     
  4. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    Mar 7, 2012

    I suspect that schools might google an applicant's name, though I've never done it. It seems a reasonable thing to do.

    If they pulled up everything I've ever put on line, they would discover only that I am verbose, occasionally cantankerous, and conservative. I suppose the last might be a problem for some schools.

    It does depend, as Caesar intimated, on what they would find.
     
  5. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Mar 7, 2012

    A lot of admins will google applicants.

    A lot of students will google their teachers (regardless of if you've irked them).

    Two options: 1. pay a company to bury it. 2. bury it on your own by posting a lot of positive stuff.

    I'd be more concerned about getting a job ... your name WILL be checked out online by HR or admin.

    (Why I preach online etiquette to my students).

    I don't worry about this. I post online, and always have, with the following mindset: my boss/mother/grandmother/father/child could read this. (And, I've been present online since the early 90s).
     
  6. geoteacher

    geoteacher Devotee

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    Mar 7, 2012

    Sorry about your predicament. Unfortunately, your case is what we preach about to students all the time. If only there were a way to get them to take the advice seriously!
     
  7. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Mar 7, 2012

    What kinds of things might they find? What comes up when you google yourself? If it's a facebook/myspace thing, there are ways to delete your entire account and everything you've ever posted (google "facebook death"). I don't post anything that I feel is particularly offensive, but you never know who might think the opposite, so I don't use my last name on facebook. If you changed it, I'm not sure if they could still find stuff under your old name though. There are also ways to make yourself "unsearchable" on sites like that. If you have videos or other things up on other sites, I'm not sure what to do about that. You're going to have to be more specific about what you want taken down. I'm had lots of kids look for me on fb and they can't find me because of the name even though I am "searchable."
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Mar 7, 2012

    I just googled myself.

    I found my ratings under www.ratemyteachers.com

    I found an article on breast cancerI wrote for a magazine on their online site.

    I found my name under the SAT course I teach in the summer.

    I found 2 other articles on parenting I've written-- one of which was written in 2007, the other in 2009.

    That's it. Nothing a parent or administrator could or would have an issue with.
     
  9. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Mar 7, 2012

    You can make yourself unsearchable on facebook. That's what I do. I don't have anything on facebook that I'm ashamed of, but there are pictures of me at parties that I wouldn't want admin or my students to see.
    EDIT: I just realized how bad that sounded. I don't mean parties where everyone gets drunk or anything; I just mean normal parties where I'll be wearing something that wouldn't be appropriate for school or where I'll be with my boyfriend.
     
  10. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Mar 7, 2012

    It's only recently people are starting to realize that what they've done in the past in the internet is always up for grabs.

    For example, if I search my name, I find a ton of links to my school... and an extremely old website from when I was in college. Pre-Facebook, pre-job searching, pre-I'm-going-to-be-a-teacher (for two of us). It was just a funny collection of things from a group of people working together. But it was college; there was cussing; there were innuendos; there's a picture of a condom on the banner. Nothing from me or about me; I just happened to work there at that time. Fast-forward to three years ago - everyone is grownup, working in the grownup world, and freaking out about that dang website. Everyone's last names were removed. My first name was edited.

    Guess what? Still shows up on a Google search... even though you couldn't tell it had anything to do with me just by looking at it.

    Try to do as much damage control as you can.
     
  11. each1teach1

    each1teach1 Cohort

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    Mar 7, 2012

    I googled myself.

    -My mandatory page on my school district's website
    -My quizlet site
    -A page from my undergrad sorority site that I'm mentioned on
    -A newsletter from my undergrad school that mentions that I won a scholarship from them in 2006.
    -My name as a volunteer for a community group I volunteer with

    That's all I could find on myself in ten pages of searches. But in 2004, when facebook first came out, I already knew I wanted to be a teacher so I've always kept my account as private as possible including not allowing my account to be found in a public search. Same with Twitter and MySpace when I signed up. And still I'm very careful what I post. But probably I'm still very lucky that most of the social media that we use now didn't exist until I was in college.

    In your case, I would recommend closing the accounts and perhaps having a good explanation of how you've matured and grown since those things were posted if there is anything too outrageous.
     
  12. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    Mar 7, 2012

    This is the one time where having a common name is a blessing!
     
  13. bison

    bison Habitué

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    Mar 7, 2012

    I think this is a generational issue that a lot of older adults just don't understand. We grew up without any guidance as the first generation that started as children on the internet and had to figure things out for ourselves. Now we deal with the consequences. Lectures don't help at this point, but practical advice does. Here is what I suggest:

    Google your name. If anything you've posted in the past comes up, log into whatever those accounts are, delete everything, close the accounts. Delete ALL pictures. If you can't remember the login info, try to get the passwords sent to you, etc. Make everything on your Facebook private and unsearchable. If the stuff is still cached on Google after deletion, you can contact them and have them remove it. Make sure you search for your name both with and without quotes. John Smith and then another search for "John Smith." If you have an email address you've used for a long time, search that too. Or start using a new one entirely.

    Posting your own positive stuff as others have suggested is not a bad idea. You can do things like create a LinkedIn account, a professional website, etc. Google+ accounts show up pretty high, you could just have a blank and private profile. Don't connect your accounts to photos.

    I have a relatively uncommon name, but there are a few others with it. My problem is those people! A bunch of inappropriate stuff comes up when you google me, but none of it has to do with me! I'm hoping anyone who searches me has the common sense to realize that.
     
  14. Engels

    Engels New Member

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    Mar 7, 2012

    I did post a reply before, I'm not sure why it never came up.

    Anyway, thank you all for the advice. I'm not looking to delete anything specific, I wasn't a horrible person, although I did cuss quite a bit and a lot of it could be embarrassing, especially because I've developed nearly two-hundred websites, each one has a public record of my name, private email address and even my home address. And, for example, I developed a personal website, about me and my name. I hired an advertising program that featured me on many blogs, one was a celebrity photos site. So when you Google Image search for my name it comes up with a few photos of me and a lot of photos of celebrities in bikinis. Which is a little embarrassing.

    I've followed a lot of your advice, found as much as I can and tried removing it myself or contacting the webmaster. I guess I'll wait for the Google results to update before I see how much it has helped.

    I still have a couple of years so it should be alright.

    Thanks again.
     

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