Defining One's Identity Online

So, I’m in the New York Times today, as part of the story called Loosing Google’s Lock on the Past. I’m not a huge fan of how the story turned out, mostly because my quotes are almost incoherent. What I was trying to say is that the expectation for a lot of people is that, when they meet a new person, they’ll be able to Google them up and find out all about them, just like you would do if you were researching a company.

And, if you know people are going to be looking you up, then you should have a place (like, say, a blog) that is a definitive source of information about yourself, instead of leaving it to chance. This is something I wrote about in Privacy Through Identity Control a few years ago.


Of course, the hook for the story is that the writer didn’t like the picture of herself that came up if you searched for her name. Fortunately for me, the picture of me that accompanies the story will offer plenty of amusement for anybody who’s familiar with Internet culture. (All those links are work-safe, but the things linked on those pages most definitely are not.)

Jim Wilson, who took the picture, was a really nice guy, and Stepanie Rosenbloom, who wrote the story, was really professional, so I was a bit reluctant to throw in an easter egg for all my web friends. But now that there’s a giant picture in the Times, I’m finding it pretty entertaining.

Update: This post (and picture) got a pretty strong response — a year later I described some of the reactions that it inspired.