Who does the internet think you are?

I am currently doing some work on the Newport Super Connected Cities Programme with my colleague James Saunby of Grey Sky Consulting. Last night we attended the official supper for the Newport Food Festival.

During the supper I got talking to a woman on our table who told me she was scared of the internet. She said she was a single parent of four children which meant she didn’t get out much and she craved adult, human discourse, and wanted to start preparing for a return to the workplace. I explained to her that the internet had the solution to both of those problems, but she remained scared, and social media was particularly scary to her.

So, I set a challenge that I could find something about her on the internet. After some time googling on my phone I had to admit defeat. I couldn’t find anything about her on the internet….. BUT, I did find a lot of material about someone with an identical name to hers who was described as a “Transexual Pole Dancer”.  My new friend seemed quite upset about this, almost seeming to blame me for associating her with this other person.

I explained to her that, in the modern age, people expect to research others online. If she was looking to get back to work she should expect potential employers to look her up on the internet. If they were to do this they might well come to the conclusion that she was a transexual pole dancer. If that makes her uncomfortable (I make no judgement as to whether it should), then she should populate the internet with accurate information about herself.

I don’t think I convinced her as she remained scared of the internet. But, hopefully I gave her some food for thought.

One thought on “Who does the internet think you are?

  1. John, I had a similar experience but in this case someone I knew said that she didn’t want to be ‘public’. I googled her and her name was all over the internet. Bit late!

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