I googled myself recently. I read an article that suggested you do that every now and then as a security measure - especially if you have a significant online presence. I have a ridiculous number of online accounts for various things, and that seemed like good advice. It's just too easy to have your identity stolen these days, so I've made a few changes recently to stay ahead of the game.
I wasn't that surprised when I googled myself to find quite a few hits. I've put myself out there pretty liberally between this blog, Awful Library Books, Twitter, Facebook, etc. There were thankfully no questionable hits; everything was accurate and perfectly representative. While I wasn't exactly surprised at the number of hits, I was reminded of online presences I had completely forgotten about. Profiles came up in social networks and online technology tools that I haven't even used in a year or more. I realized that in order to control my identity - which was why I googled myself in the first place - I had to scale back a bit. The unused profiles had to go.
I started logging in to various accounts and deleting them. It was gloriously liberating! Every time I cut the cord on one more service, it was like one less thing to keep track of. I did have record of all of the accounts, so I had my log-in information for each of them. I had just let the list grow and grow over the years. I often sign up for a service just to try it. I want to be able to share cool tech tools with others, and I want to be able to offer technology work-arounds to patrons. Often, I try things out and then never use them again. Or I use them until something even better comes along and it gets superseded.
My first-round cuts included items that have been superseded, that don't work quite how I had envisioned them, or that I just don't get enough out of. I like them all for different reasons, but I am not using any of them regularly enough to miss them.
- LinkedIn - This one hurt the most, but I found myself annoyed at every weekly digest email, deleting them immediately. I never logged in unless I got a friend request, and then I would just log in, accept, and log out. I wasn't using the service as it is intended. No hard feelings to any connections dropped now that I'm not on LinkedIn. Those people should find me on Twitter instead.
- Diigo - I set up an account on Diigo when Delicious was unstable. Delicious pulled through and I've made my choice. Diigo is out, Delicious is in. I don't want to double-bookmark everything. I think Diigo is a cool service, though, so I did really put some thought into which one I was keeping.
- FriendFeed - Here's another one that I like a lot. I think it's a fantastic idea to follow people in one place and get all of their updates instead of getting their Twitter updates on Twitter, their Flickr updates on Flickr, etc. The problem was, so few people were using it that it was basically a second Twitter feed.
- LibraryThing - I had both a GoodReads account and a LibraryThing account. I picked GoodReads and cancelled LibraryThing. I quit using LibraryThing a few years ago, so GoodReads was the more up-to-date profile. It won. LibraryThing is a really cool service, but I'm not keeping lists of books in two places.
- Facebook - although I've really slowed down with Facebook. I only log in a few times a week, and I treat it as a personal account. I post about beer, gardening, and concerts - not libraries.
- Twitter - My current favorite! I did separate my personal life from my professional life by opening a second Twitter account. You can follow my gardening/beer/concert/recipe experiments at http://twitter.com/creativedivide. If you choose to follow that account, keep in mind that you get personal Holly, not professional Holly (there's not a huge difference other than subject matter). For library tweets, follow http://twitter.com/hhibner.
- Travelocity - my favorite of the travel planning sites. For now.
- Slideshare - I've deleted all but four presentations from my personal account. Everything else is in the Awful Library Books slideshare account.
- RGBStock.com - My current favorite free image site.
- Skype - Also on the chopping block, but not quite yet.
If we were connected in any of my deleted accounts, I do apologize. It's not you, it's me.