The activity for this week was to take some time to explore our digital shadows. Our digital shadow refers to our online visbility to others. The concept has become one of much discussion as increasingly employers engage in Web searches to learn more about their employees or potential employees.

As I suspected, my name is a little too common to come up with anything about myself specifically. Through the Google search I did learn more about the interdisciplinary practitioner (this sounded vague to me but apparently means that she is a writer, multimedia producer, tv presenter, arts collaborator and general medical practitioner) Rachel Armstrong and apparently there was a character in Home and Away with the same name as me. I also tried my maiden name and again found nothing about myself but did learn more about the Rachel Goddard Medical Aesthetics Company.

The Blind Search produced very similar results but with a little more variety. Again, nothing about me.

I thought the Spezify webpage was visually very interesting, but as Tanya and Kristina have mentioned, the layout was very confusing. I also thought the results were quite odd and very focused on the Home and Away character I mentioned above – with the inclusion of a large number of screen shots of the actress that played that character. I was also a little puzzled by some of the results e.g. pictures of the DVD cover for The Mummy. All I could think of here is that the main actress in the film is Rachel Weisz.

I then read Richard’s post and got the idea of adding a location to the search so tried to search for my maiden name and the city I grew up in but no luck there either.

Then my husband wandered in and asked if I had found any bad photos of myself and reminded me that a photo of us was published online several years ago in an issue of the Navy News. Low and behold, when I typed in my maiden name and Navy News it was the first result in the Google results.

I agree with what has already been mentioned regarding images being easily taken out of context. I also think there are a lot of very out of date photos of individuals hanging about on the Web (like the above-mentioned photo). I always cringe a little when an old school friend posts unflattering teenage photos of us on Facebook. Sadly there was a time in my life when I thought a perm was a good look. I do not need to be reminded of that now on Facebook. 

Ultimately though, I personally don’t have a problem with an employer or employee researching me online. I would likely feel differently about this if I thought there was anything controversial for them to find. They will probably just find 20 year old pictures of me with a bad perm.