Monday, 18 June 2012

Egosurfing: How public is your private life?

We've all been guilty of egosurfing, right? You know, jumping onto Google, typing in your own name and seeing what comes up? If you have a common name, you probably see lots of web pages related to your most famous namesake. When I do this, it comes up with a list of 10 webpages - only two of which are not mine. I guess that makes me the most famous "Samantha Mawdsley". Hell, even most of the Google images are of me or photos from my blog, so I must be doing something right!

Egosurfing: Samantha Mawdsley

Egosurfing has all sorts of benefits. You can manage your online presence and make sure you are perceived as you want to be and it chews up a few minutes when you're really bored. It's also how I found the other "Samantha Mawdsley" who I will be meeting at the end of the year. But the other night, this happened.

I was driving home from football training and as a car overtook me, I lazily looked over. A guy was looking at me, quite intently. As I glanced over, he smiled. He was about my age and pretty cute too. As he continued on past me I suddenly wondered if he could find me if he wanted to.

I have had a guy I chatted to briefly in a bar, and who knew very little about me, find me on Facebook. He only knew me as "Samantha" but still, there was his creepy, uncalled for friend request staring at me the next morning. It has the potential to be quite disconcerting. I may have innocuously mentioned some unique details about myself or even what I do as my 9-5 seeing as that is a pretty unique job. But could a perfect stranger who smiled at me from a passing car track me down just from that simple exchange?

From what this young man saw, he knew (or could very easily guess) my name seeing as my personalised number plates have 'SAM' on them. I have a Liverpool scarf as well as a 'Princess on Board' sign in my rear window. Chances are I lived in that city as it was late on a Thursday night so I was hardly on a road trip to another state. So when I got home, I googled the information he had about me.

Google: Sam + Liverpool + Princess + my home city = my LinkedIn profile with links to my blog, Twitter and Facebook. That is the #1 search result.

So yes. Yes, a perfect stranger could track me down just from that simple exchange. From this point, it wouldn't take much more of a computer hacker to come up with much more personal details. My only consolation is that searching that combination without my home city doesn't lead to me at all. Leaving out 'Princess' also affords me a little bit more privacy (which I find hilarious!) So the stranger would have to think a little bit in order to track me down but they could, theoretically, do it.

And if you are that cute guy from the car last Thursday... Here's a message just for you!

Miss SAMawdsley xx


  • Have you ever tracked someone down using only small bits of information?
  • Has someone ever tracked you down?



    If you are that guy, and you prefer good music, here is the same message but easier to swallow.

    1. I did actually enjoy that but then again, I love 'Semi-charmed Life'. xx

  2. Sorry not the guy from the car, am stalker from the bar.

    My message to you;

    I've never met you and I'm crazy. I stole your number, I'll call you daily..

    1. Dear anonymous, with a sense of humour like that, how about we just get married? Meet you at the altar? :P xx

    2. Pfffft. I wanna marry a princess.




    3. Hahaha! I don't even know if I just got burned or not! :P xx

  3. lol... Roxy used to work in a call center, and one of the guys at a restaurant she had to call frequently actually said to her "Not to sound creepy or anything, but I totally went home and Facebook stalked you last night". Luckily the company policy at the call center is to give a fake last name...and just a side note, it should be obvious that if you have to SAY "not to sound creepy", that automatically makes it creepy

    1. So they didn't manage to find her? I worked in a call centre & had a guy ask me out. I also had a telemarketer call me on New Year's Eve and tried to chat to me for ages before his shift ended & then invited me to a party he was attending. I like to think of it as being friendly than being creepy. But that's probably why I will probably meet my end in a deserted woods somewhere and be hacked into small pieces... I'm too trusting! But yes, anything following "Not to sound creepy" is usually borderline psychopathic behaviour! xx

  4. Not to sound creepy, but I accidently lost my "Samantha" wig made with strands of your lost hair...

    Can I give you a haircut?

  5. After reading your post I was wondering if someone could track me down... nope. Even if my name is quite uncommon it's not easy to track me down. No picture on me on google, well not a full size one, nor a pic where I'm alone. I did a search for your pics, wow, in some of them you do look like my GF! So strange, and I have some weird ideas... err...

    But, no I didn't track anyone down, neither I was tracked down by anyone (which I know). If I want to someone digits: I must do the first step - in real life. On the internet you get a crush on people more easily... that's not a good thing 98% of the times, 1% is nearly lethal and 1% you find the true love (for the next 5 years or so) :^P

    Well, by the way I'd rather use the old school: