Because I think it is critically important for all of us to have a handle on our online persona. And aside from mastering privacy settings and being smart about what we write, we all need to be on top of what we posted in the past on Facebook (oops!) and the like, and what was written about us that we may not even know about.
So I put all 25 search engines to the test and found these five to be particularly useful (and FREE):
123People searches through many social networks (like Facebook, Hi5, MySpace, Bebo, Friendster) forums, Wikipedia and other communities to see if the person you’re looking for is a registered member there.
I expected to find my profile on LinkedIn and an article that I published a few weeks ago on the need for a corporate social media policy. But I also found:
- that I am still listed as a certified Sexual Harassment Prevention Trainer in the state of Connecticut. (Haven't provided this training in 4 years - delete!!!!)
- a MySpace profile that I don't even remember creating (delete!!!)
- and who knew that my Wall Street Journal interview about the impact of the US economic downturn was translated into Spanish and Japanese? (Worth tweeting about?)
Tweepz searches for people on Twitter by name, profession, religious background and many other criteria. Here I want to make sure that my Twitter profile shows up. I type in "iWebU", and BAM! I come up! (Excellent)
I have a soft place in my heart for a search engine named after my favorite Star Trek character... Spock's primary purpose is people search. But it is especially excellent if you’re searching by profession. I typed in my name, followed by my clinical credentials and discovered a stirring endorsement of the Web Whisperers' Tech Boot Camp I attended a few years ago. I didn't know my enthusiastic review was online. That's cool. (But if it wasn't cool, I now know about it and can FIX IT!)
Sorry Spock, Yasni is amazing. Not only does it turn up amazing info, but the info is organized by tabs, eg personal, business, news, other web sites. So under business, I find out that one of my articles is on sale on Amazon.com (who knew? shouldn't I be getting a percentage of the gross?)and under other web business I find that I am listed on the board of directors of a not for profit (correct!)
This is a free criminal records engine. You can search for a person and see if he/she has a criminal record. I don't have one (reassuring) but like the fact that I can screen potential employees and my daughter's boyfriend.
Best of the best? Yasni hands down. That said, each of these engines revealed different info, so if you want to be comprehensive, explore them all.