Nov 112011
 
Find Your Digital Identity

Digital Identity

In the last blog post, “Digital Identity and Search“, we discussed the fact that all the information available about you online contributes to your digital identity.  

In this post, you and I are going to visit seven tools you can use to discover the personal information and grade the professional impression that you have online.

Hopefully, you are joining me in my social media experiment and you will check these tools together with me.

So, friend, you ready to take the plunge and see what is online about you?  Let’s go take a look at your current digital identity!

Digital Identity within Google and Bing Search

Of course, we start with Google and Bing. (I am counting Google and Bing together as one tool.)

My name isn’t that common, so putting “Mindy Koch” (in quotes) is enough for me. If you have a common name, you will need to add an identifier like +Michigan or +journalist in your search to help narrow the results down to you specifically.

If you read the digital identity last post, you have already looked at Google to see the earliest mention of you, so you have a general idea of your Google digital identity.  If you haven’t checked Google lately, you may find it very interesting.

Hopefully, you are in the first few pages of results.  And hopefully, you like the current state of your digital identity in the results.

We aren’t done with Google though.

After exploring the standard search result pages for your name, it is time to search Google Images.

Now, when I search Google Images for “Mindy Koch”, I notice several interesting things.

1.  I can put a face to the other Mindy Kochs in the US.  Cool.  I have been aware of them for years as I have monitored my online reputation and now I know what they look like.

2. Pictures of me are a small percentage of the results.

3. Luckily, as I skimmed the images I didn’t find any compromising or embarrassing images of myself.

4.  The images associated with me are incredibly diverse.  Featured pictures from blog pages I have commented on show up.  Pictures of people I interact with on Facebook show up.  Images of people who recommended my Empire Avenue stock show up.  Quite a few of the results are associated with me – but are not actually me.

One last thought before we move on from discovering our digital identity in Google Images. What shows up if we turn off “Safe Search”?  I always search with “SafeSearch” on, and I can’t think of any reason that I would have anything that would show up that wouldn’t be safe.  But, I should check just in case.

Okay, let’s do a Google Video search as well.  Anyone record you slipping on a banana peel or coming home from the dentist all goofy on laughing gas? Just checking.  Nothing showed up for me that I wasn’t expecting.  Hopefully, that is true for you as well.

We are going to use Google again later, but for now, let’s move on to a digital identity search in Bing.

My Bing search results were pretty much what I expected.  They look a lot like my Google search results.  I totally dominate the first few pages that I checked, so I am happy.

And, of course, next is a quick check of Bing Image and Bing Video searches.

When I checked my digital identity in Bing Image search, I found that Bing Image Search produces far less random results than Google images did.  Nice, simple, concise results.

So, we have the OBVIOUS “discover your digital identity” tool out of the way.

Let’s have some fun and explore six more!  I hope a few of these are new to you!

A search tool I get a kick out of is Spezify.  I love the layout of the results.  The results are just very visually appealing to me.  If you go check your digital identity there; I am curious to see if you think it is as cool as I do!  There really is something about the layout of the results that just fascinates me.

Before we explore your personal digital identity specifically, there is one other search I suggest we do.  Let’s see what people are saying about us on social media.

The social media search tool I like to use is SocialMention.  Since SocialMention searches social media sites, I am testing “Mindy Koch” and “mindykoch” there.  Most of my social media mentions come in the form of @mindykoch so I may as well search it.  I suggest you check your socialmedia monikers as well.

Your Personal Digital Identity

Now, let’s get personal.

If you live in the United States, you should try Spokeo and search your name again.  Select the state you live in and see the results…

For me, Spokeo reveals way more personal information about my digital identity than I would like.

It shows the street my house  is on, my age, my religion, my income bracket, and other typical demographic stuff.  But then, check this out – it even shows my interests:

spokeo digital identity

spokeo digital identity

Not all the information Spokeo has on me is correct.  I don’t enjoy arts and crafts, I don’t drink wine, and my parents are not elderly. But still, Spokeo has definitely crawled more than my information on the Internet.  It has crawled my activities.  Amazon obviously has been crawled.  Over all, Spokeo has assembled quite a bit of information!  I hate to think what is in the package available for purchase. *Shudder*.

(If what is revealed about you concerns you, you may find this link helpful: remove your digital identity information from Spokeo.)

Another site to check to see your personal information online is 123People.  This site searches globally with extensive databases in the US, the UK, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Again, someone can pay to find out even more digital identity information about us!  Perhaps, we should buy the packages and see what is in there!

If you are not happy with the 123 People results, you can get information about how to remove information at 123 People and clearing your digital identity.

So, you have investigated some of your personal digital identity, it is time to check the status of your professional digital identity.

Your Professional Digital Identity

In this section,  we are going to get “graded” on how clearly we are communicating our digital identity as a professional brand.

First, I want you to think back to your Google Search and Bing Search. How did you show up as a PROFESSIONAL?  Were you conveying the professional digital identity you desire? I feel pretty good about how I show up as a professional.  I still want to do a bit of finessing though of the top 30 results of me.  I want to absolutely make sure that they promote the best me possible.

We need our Google search results page open to use the next tool Online ID Calculator. This isn’t a search tool, it is a rating tool.  So, let’s go grade our digital identity at Online ID Calculator.

At first, it is easy to be put off by this site because it seems to ask for a lot of information. After using it, I realized it doesn’t connect my data to me and it doesn’t pull any information about me from the internet. It just works with the data I offer.

We just simply answer the questions and Online ID Calculator will let us know if our digital identity is “digitally dissed, digitally dabbling, digitally disastrous, or digitally distinct”.

I was happy to see that I am “Digitally Distinct”. Yeah!! :D

Important tip: before we leave Google, we need to set a google alert so we can monitor our digital identity.  Set it to search the internet.  I have a search for Mindy Koch and mindykoch since I use mindykoch as my usual online moniker.

The next site we are going to use is MyWebCareer. This site grades how well our digital identity is getting our professional message across online.  To get an accurate reading, it connects to Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Quora.  Any score above 750 is excellent. The highest score is an 850.

Here is how my ratings went: Facebook alone, I scored a 555.  Adding Linkedin moved me to a 737.  Adding Twitter bumped me to a 770.  Adding Quora only bumped me to a 779.  I am happy with that but I can still do more work.  Good to know.

Hopefully, by now, you have been able to get your fingers on the pulse of your digital identity.

Before I close this article though, I have two bonus shows for you to view that feature your digital identity on Facebook!!

One is the Museum of Me and the other is Take this Lollipop.  You will need to give them permission to connect with your Facebook account to see the movies.

One of these shows is a real nice treat and lets you enjoy how well you have formed your digital identity on Facebook.  I love the Museum of Me and think it would be a super cool screensaver on my computer.

The other one, Take this Lollipop, is a bit more intense and is a reminder that there are lots of things we do want to share online and lots of things we don’t.

I urge you to watch both of them.

Next Post:

Shaping Your Digital Identity

In the next post, I will talk to you about flooding the Internet with positive information about you to influence your digital identity.

Until then, be on your best behavior, assume that everything you do can end up on the Internet, and check your teeth for spinach in case someone with a cell phone camera is around.

Mindy Koch
See my entire online presence at http://xeeme.com/mindykoch 
 
Synopsis of digital identity tools:
  1. Google/Bing Search – Image – Video
  2. Spezify
  3. Social Mention
  4. Spokeo
  5. 123People
  6. Online Id Calculator
  7. My Web Career
Bonus shows: Museum of Me and Take this Lollipop
Photo, “Search” by Jeffrey Beall, is used by creative commons license. Digital Identity.

  17 Responses to “7 Tools To Discover Your Digital Identity”

  1. Nice post. I’m going to checkout Spokeo now.

  2. What a fantastic resource! Thank you so much for sharing this. I have monitored Google and Bing, Spokeo (that one was creepy, I removed myself),and Social Mention, but had never heard of the others. My Web Career score was 835, and I am digitally distinct.

    Not sure if any of it matters, but I was really interesting. Thanks again!

    • Nice Web Career score!! It only matters as a baseline tool to improve our digital identity online. You have obviously ROCKED your digital identity, so you don’t have to worry about it. Just a nice “pat on the back” which is always cool!

  3. Awesome article, Mindy! Very detailed yet easy to understand and take action. This is so important to do. Highly recommend everyone follow these steps!

  4. Excellent post!! Thank you for sharing this valuable info!!!

  5. What a great article, Mindy! Thanks to you I discovered a couple of new tools that I will be sure to use in the near future.

  6. What an informative and thorough post, Mindy! I’m happy to know I have a “digitally distinct” rating from the Online ID Calculator and scored a 783 on MyWebCareer (I’ll need to engage more on Quora!). Really helpful insights. I have yet to check out the Museum of Me or Take This Lollipop, but will do so soon. Thanks for the great resources!

    • Hey Mitch – looks like you are doing great! Like you, I need to do more with Quora as well. I hope you do the Museum of Me and Take this Lollipop, I am curious to know what you think of them!

  7. Another great post and cool tools you share here :)
    Axel

  8. Great post Min! Appreciate all of the time and effort you put behind your posts.

  9. I actually checked Spokeo and looks like it hasn’t get any information about me. Aside from searching my name, I also tried to search for some of my friends’ names and same result happened. I guess it’s pretty beneficial for us since we don’t really need to worry too much that others who have can make use of our personal information.

  10. It is pretty hard to hide these days. The more I see new tv shows, the more I see how the police, FBI, and CIA can find out about us as well!!

    • Sally, you bring up a really good point.

      It is hard to have a digital identity that is complete enough for marketing purposes and yet discrete enough for safety purposes. We have to walk that fine line carefully.

  11. thanks for this details great post. today employers use the Internet to search and see when hiring you for a job. so managing your online identity is going to be very important in future if not already today.

  12. Great advice. Thanks especially for the link on how to remove your personal info from Spokeo. Very helpful. :)

  13. You reminded me to do something I haven’t done in a while: check my name in Google. I found out that I somewhat dominate the first eight or nine pages for my name in quotes. A few other Carla Chadwicks are listed, too, but they didn’t really have a chance to have much of a presence given my four years of blogging. I’m not sure whether that’s good or bad!

 Leave a Reply

(required)

(required)

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>