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People Search for Evaluating Your Personal Brand

Younger social media users often don’t realize they are broadcasting to the world and that what they post becomes part of their digital history.

Like Social Media Clubs (SMC) throughout the world, the Harrisburg SMC chapter of marketers, writers, broadcasters, news people and educators meets monthly to discuss topics related to the ongoing professional use and exploration of social media. At a recent meeting of the Harrisburg professional chapter we discussed a variety of social media tools and strategies. The discussion quickly turned to the misuse and misunderstanding of social media by college students, and Millennials in general. The general consensus was that the 14-22s don’t understand that they are creating a brand for the world to see when they Tweet, Facebook or Google + about . . . well, behavior no one wants the world to know about. An accompanying conversation also indicated that parents and other family members and mentors don’t know enough about these communication channels to monitor their child’s (or sibling’s, niece’s or nephew’s) social media activity.

People search was recommended as a tool for showing students the digital footprint (and brand) they are creating. It is also a good tool for parents and other mentors to monitor their student’s online behavior. There are a variety of people search tools available (http://www.similarsitesearch.com/alternatives-to/pipl.com), but Pipl.com was specifically recommended.

The Pipl search engine can be used to retrieve information about someone from the “deep web.” 1”The Pipl robots interact with searchable databases and extract facts, contact details and other relevant information from personal profiles, member directories, scientific publications, court records and numerous other deep-web sources. Pipl also aims to find relevant bits of information about a person by using advanced language-analysis and ranking algorithms.”

You can search on Pipl by name, email, username or phone number. I searched on my name and got only a few results linked to social media and web sites. A search by email address resulted in substantially more references to multiple social media accounts and a detailed web account history.

Have you used a people search engine to show students how their web and social media history is being recorded? What has been the reaction?

What are your personal opinions about people searches? Do you have concerns about privacy and accuracy?

Please let me know your thoughts about teaching students how to see their Internet history. Are there other people search engines you recommend for doing so?

1http://www.crunchbase.com/company/pipl

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