September 23, 2013 – First it was a word-of-mouth report that I heard a few years ago that Google has over 1000 pieces of data on the average American, then it was recent news reports about Feds listening in on personal phone calls, now it is my ongoing expectation that creepy people with Internet connections can help me update my resume and prepare for judgment day. Even though I have a tight policy on Internet cookies and I don’t save my passwords in my browser, and even though I change my passwords regularly and consider my online posts carefully, I expect that, if I ever ran for public office, there would be plenty of fodder for hungry opposition researchers. It’s a good thing that I don’t like public spotlights or offices.
In our extended family we joke about being Internet lurkers. Though all lurkers live in a bit of blissful ignorance about their digital tracks, I’m sure that I am the most connected and visible member of my family. And yet, my Internet search for my digital footprint was mildly boring. So I’m either an uninteresting person or I’m a lousy Internet researcher, or both.
My synopsis of my footprint: Big Brother has siblings and lurking makes it necessary for the average Googler to put up some money or waste a lot of time before they can have any fun. We all know that pedophiles, collection agencies, and scam artists can get all the information they need, but the companies we work with are afraid of being sued and there are good folks in society who genuinely want to protect one another.
Here is what I learned about myself today: I’m 37, I’m married to Shelley, I live in my house in Jerome, Idaho, I’m a relative of Russell O. and Blair Nash (and a few others), I’m the father of Elijah John, born in 2012, I’m on Facebook and LinkedIn, and I’ve lived in a handful of places around the western United States. I also learned that my profile image which I have uploaded to numerous social media sites is still not available through Google images (that would make it much easier to create new profiles … bummer) and apparently none of my photos projects that I want people to find have made it to the spotlight. Finally, I have learned that I had better leave a good family history record to save genealogists time proving which of the 100 or so Russell Nashes in the United States is actually me.
Perhaps my view of my digital footprint is rare, but I was hoping that I had more of an online presence in the search engines. Perhaps if I ever grow rich or my kids start drawing unwanted attention, or someone convinces me to look into that public office thing, then I will hope for a different outcome. Still, I have always taken a cautious and reserved approach to life and I will continue to extend that perspective to my ever-growing trail of online footprints.