Monday, January 26, 2009

The Awesomeness of the Internet

The internet is great. It's already so second nature for me to use the web for everything, that having no access leaves me feeling fidgety and irritated. Sure, I could be addicted (you know, in the way that psychologists like to use addicted, not an actual addiction), but it could be that I throw out all of the phone books because it's easier to use Switchboard.

I like e-mail a lot. Now that I've discovered Facebook, though, e-mail seems a bit outdated. And I thought Twitter was like an RSS feed, but I'm discovering it can be more interactive. I have been able to find some people from high school and college on Facebook. You can even search your school by year of graduation, which makes it pretty interesting. Facebook is a fascinating application. I know! I'm preaching to the choir--everyone else has known about Facebook forever.

I've occasionally tried to find some old friends by searching their name in Google. This is really difficult because you can't be sure what state they are in, whether they are doing the same kind of work or are in the same company, and in the case of women if their names have changed. It never occurred to me that someone might even want to look for my name. So I did a vanity search on Google. Even if someone remembered how to spell my name, or even knew what state I currently live in, it would be difficult. I do not have any real entries that come up! Even though I've had this blog forever, I have not explicitly associated it with my first and last names and location enough for the search engines.

One really freaky site is They obviously have access to credit and/or government records like taxes and such. They will find you, your current and past addresses (which alerts me that somehow I got associated with a location I never lived in) and even close relatives. It's disconcerting. They even changed my age ON my birthday (today, by the way). That all comes with a cost, so it's not free--but if you are a private person and want to scare yourself, look yourself up there.


Deb said...

Happy birthday, Kim!

Kim said...

Thanks! I was wondering if anyone would notice that I threw that in.

christinemm said...

Happy Birthday (belated)!

A few months ago I got my first email from telling me to go there to see who was searching for me. I had to provide detailed info on me to access the info. But in the end they wanted money and without that payment I could not see who was looking me up.

I get sometimes two emails a day saying people are looking me up and to go see. I feel that is a false advertisement. was a cool idea but they were so greedy with info, requiring $25 membership in order to see the email of your old contact.

Now Facebook and LinkedIn and MySpace can do all that for free.

Spokeo freaked me out as it uses a computer program to link all of a person's id's across the internet to each other with email as the main link. At one time (before I made changes) it linked my blog (without my name) to my amazon account that gave my full name and town, told all what I've been buying on Amazon and my wish list, linked to my flickr account with photos of my kids and my home on it, and linked to what yahoogroups I was a member of. Freaky. It also would email anyone a summary of my 'public data' of anything new I did online without my knowing who was getting my info. Scary.