Trick or Treat?: Your Online "Presents" vs. Your Online Presence

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Have you ever searched your name on the Internet? If you haven't, you may wish to. Back in 2005, I published a book about military-to-civilian career transitions. I wanted to find a way to keep up with the feedback - good or bad - on my book. So, I set up a series of Google Alerts so that rather than searching for feedback, the feedback came to me. I like to save time.

I found this approach helpful, but many of the internet alert hits I received made no sense. As a result, I decided to delete the alerts. My email Inbox loves me again.

Just this week, I decided to do a web search on my name. I was surprised at all the content I found:

  • My name showed up on a people search website under the name of a good friend who passed away earlier this year. I had posted a memorial video in his honor on my YouTube account.
  • I sent a letter announcing my book to a contact of mine. They cut & pasted the entire letter, word-for-word, on their website.
  • I play the saxophone and often review, write, or comment on musically-related things. Let's just say they got all my "notes" right.
  • An old profile for a music education site (one which I don't currently subscribe to) has my information in full view. Hmm, I thought that was password protected.
  • There's some other crazy stuff out there bearing my name. Some legit, some not. Ask me.

Enough about me, let's talk about YOU!

There's a website you need to know about. This is a website with a very strange name called Yatedo. I'm not a fan! Why? They gave me a "present".

In an earlier blog post we discussed the popular networking website LinkedIn. Let's just put it this way, if you have a LinkedIn profile, chances are you have a Yatedo profile too - and you probably didn't even know about it!

Essentially, the folks a Yatedo hijacked your LinkedIn account. You can see your LinkedIn "twin" by simply entering your name on Yatedo. I learned that this company is based in France and started by two guys who claim to want to create:

"...a free people search engine which helps you find and contact anybody throughout the web. Yatedo has developed and continue developing technologies that simplifies and facilitates the search and social experience to help people find and connect to each others." (sic)

Dear Yatedo: I want to DIS-connect!

(I'll keep the rest of my opinions on this to myself for fear of them showing up online.)

If you're a military spouse or uniformed military conducting a job search, just keep in mind that your online presence is somewhat out of your control. The challenge is getting a prospective employer to give you the benefit of the doubt. Will anyone take the time to ask for an explanation? Will anyone verify this info is actually you? Will anyone put things in context? Probably not.

I guess it's a good idea to just be aware of your online surroundings. Be ready to explain (if given the chance) your online presence OR your online "presents".