Finding oneself on the Internet
If you can believe this - I'm actually envious of those who do not have a footprint on the internet. With hindsight, I would choose the option of being a Ghost on the internet. So invisible in fact, that there was no footprint of my existence (in a perfect world). However, hindsight is just that, and what is done, is done. Some of my digital footprints can be deleted (at least that is what I believe). Such as Facebook, Twitter and this Blog. And, while we, maybe cynical and believe Facebook & Twitter will probably keep our records even if we press delete, I'm certain they will vanish from the search engines like Google. The real problem hits you when you realise there are plenty of other websites on the internet that you do not have any control over the delete button and they have details of you! And everything is searchable for all to see.
I'm not a Public figure - I do not have the power or authority to make laws or dictate the rules and yet Google & Bing seems to think I am a public figure (Well that's news to you and news to me!). I hold no office in the public space and I'm not running for office but this doesn't matter to those in Silicon Valley. My right to be forgotten on the internet is inconsequential to them because the way I think must be searchable by all. Sadly this can cause problems for some people. When I look myself up I find an array of random things online. Some things are so old they really shouldn't be there and yet they are still there. Let's have a look at some of those things.
MySpace - how does this website even still exist? Who is paying all the money for all the servers over a decade after it stopped being relevant? I can't seem to delete my profile as I no longer have access to the email that I used to sign up to MySpace in the middle of the Naughties. Thankfully the only thing left on My "MySpace" profile (can you say My twice?) are some random photos of my friends and I between 2004 and 2007.
According to SEO experts, you can influence the ranking of search results if something is well linked. So for simple prosperity purposes, I'm going to link random things that feature me.
Instagram - The place to go to see Models making a fortune from taking Selfies and saying Blessed.
My very Old Blog - This Blog is about 13/14 years old - I still occasionally post there but very rarely now.
The Wondering Englishman YouTube Channel - I've posted this in every Blog Post so we are very familiar with this channel which is slowly growing with each new upload (Over 1m views to date). Of course, you are already subscribed! Travel Massive - A website that seems to bring people interested in Travel and those who work in Travel together be it at events or meetups. I'm yet to fully use this interface but I think it could be a very useful tool for those who work in the travel industry on a full-time basis.
Belarus Feed - This charming website about all things Belarus decided to write a very long article on my trip to Belarus - they used my "An Englishman in Minsk" YouTube video for the inspiration of their article. It's clear Belorussian Journalists are far more charming than any British tabloid journalist. This is the kind of reporting I can get behind and I take my hat off to them for going through the entire video - they even screen shot frames from my video (see picture) to bulk up the article.
Open News - They wrote an article on my Trip to Vienna - If you are tempted to read it they asked the Question "Will Vienna be voted the most livable city 10 years in a row?" A journalist taking the time to reach out to me and report the truth rather than lies.
Foreign Policy - These chaps covered my Trip to Tartu in Estonia. I'm very grateful once again as the journalist concerned clearly had gone through the entire video (A weekend in Tartu) and used it to create an interesting story on the wonderful city of Tartu.
E-Toro - A Trading site I signed up to a long time ago but clearly haven't used in a long time - I think it will only vanish when I finally delete my account - for the moment I don't mind it being online.
Fake-Check - Now this I have no idea what it is! Did someone check up on my Instagram to check it was entirely real - this can be the only answer to why this exists! My Instagram doesn't have enough followers to merit a Fake Check. Maybe this website exists for every account or maybe it doesn't - answer in the comments below? I get this when someone has a Million followers and advertisers want to check how legit that person is (usually accounts with that many followers will have hundreds of thousands of bots).
IMDB - Back in the day (10+years ago now) - I made a bet with my good friends Scott & Jeremy (they were trying to be actors at the time) that I could get more acting Gigs than they could despite the fact I had never gone to Drama/Acting School whereas they had. They scoffed at my bet as they struggled to get Gigs. A challenge is a challenge in my world so I went out there are tried to get acting gigs for just over a year - I had a lot of fun - I appeared in some random adverts, student films and some titled productions that actually credit me on IMDB - hence I have a page on IMDB making me look like I'm an actor - when I really am not! But I did win the bet ;)
Sponsored Tweets - Similar to Social Spark this website pulls my YouTube videos from my channel The Wondering Englishman and pastes them onto their page Sponsored Tweets. I'm glad they can use my content for selling advertising to someone! I'm certainly not seeing that money but this is how the internet works, and I really don't mind!
Rocket Reach - Now this website I do have an issue with - It's selling peoples contact details by pulling the information off Linkedin or some other site. I can't be certain my contact details are correct as I'm not going to sign up to their website and pay a fee. However, it proves everyone is reachable online for a price it would seem. Far easier to message me via Linkedin or on YouTube! Hills Road Alumni - My old 6th Form College - clearly their Platform isn't as big as Facebook or Linkedin as I have no connections from my days back in the college. Yolasite - where you can find my Old CV. A Mirror site of which lists my Blog, YouTube, Instagram & Twitter.
Mix Cloud - This is where you will find my Old Radio show from my days when I was at Shoreditch Radio & on ClubZoneFM. I miss those days where I would live mix weekly - Very few of the early shows were ever recorded but many of the later shows were recorded. Some of them can be found here.
My last recorded Show >>
There are many other entries on Google & Bing but there is no way I can possibly go through all of them on here in one blog post - Google Claims there is over 59,500+ entries when someone searches my name! Now while that may not be in the Millions that is way too much! It's insane how much of a footprint I have on the internet. How big is your digital footprint? And do you wish (like me) you could delete some of it? Or even all of it? The irony is - as soon as I post this blog post - my footprint will increase. If you want things to vanish from Google, Bing or Yahoo you can attempt to reach out to them and they will delete certain things that appear when people search for you. For example, If you're of the opinion that the articles are no longer relevant, you can contact Google and request that the links be removed from its search listings. The Right to be Forgotten - Sadly it only works if you are deemed by Google not to be a Public Figure.
If you are curious about how damaging it is to have negative information on the internet I would advise you to read my post "I was cancelled by the left - Don't let this happen to you...." And if you are interested in my story in video form. Feel free to watch the following video.
----- Alex van Terheyden