WEB101 – Ego-surfing (activity)

Official Thread: Ego-surfing (activity)
This week’s activity asks you to go ‘ego surfing’ using Google, Blindsearch, and Spezify. Some of you may be very familiar with this practice, but for others this might be quite new.

How did you go? Were you comfortable with the results? Did you find information or images that surprised you? How were the search engines different? How might the presentation of information alter its impact or meaning? Would you be comfortable with an employer or employee searching for you? What about your family members? If you did not find much information on yourself, are you happy about this? What are the advantages and disadvantages of having little or no digital shadow?

Finally, as a means of comparison, if you have a Google account or regularly use a browser which logs your search history, for instance, do you get different results if you are not logged in to Google or if you use a completely fresh search in a different browser?


Searching for my name on Google brought nothing awfully surprising to me. I suppose the most annoying thing I found was that there is another Maha out there that has a similar complexion to mine and adores Justin Bieber. Ick!

I received roughly the same amount of of results in a few browsers, logged in and not – 14 600 results. My presence dominated the first few pages ofresults also. I found 22 other Mahas in Canada and the USA, which I didn’t particularly expect, but it’s entirely possible. You see, Maha is an Arabic name (my father was Egyptian), so it came as no surprise that I found a few more Mahas in websites written with Arabic script. But, I seem to be the most dominant presence via Google Australia, UK and USA. So, I tried out Google Egypt – I’m still listed dominantly in the first few pages – that was a surprise. (I used The following browsers, FYI: Chrome, Mozilla, Safari, Opera, Midori and begrudgingly, IE.)

One thing that was of particular interest to me though, was that my professional Twitter profile came up on a site called Twtrland, which I had no idea existed until now. Not that I’m complaining… the stats that appeared on my profile gave me further insight on my Twitter habits and percentages of info I put out there that is retweeted, grouped into particular subject areas, etc. If anyone uses Twitter heavily, I recommend taking a peek at this particular site.

As for my levels of comfort, I was pretty happy with the results of my search. I think one can easily glean that my presence is quite different from the other Mahas this search produced. I wouldn’t have any issues with employers or family members finding any of this info about me in a Google search.

I even looked up my alter-ego, to see if it connected back to my professional persona. I was extremely surprised to find no trace of ‘Maha’ mentioned anywhere in the 3000+ list of results. I was once tagged in a photo of me as my alterego, and even though my real name was not used by my friend, I was concerned that my picture was going to start being matched to my actual ‘Maha’ pictures around the web. I was happy to see that, thus far, the connection between the two has not been made.

I do not have anything to hide on my personal profile, but I do feel a lot more comfortable about keeping the two separate. There are just some things you do not bring with you
to your workplace, in my humble opinion.

On a final note, I have never used Spezify until today. I’m still waiting for the results to load, having only got halfway. And the pics and videos I see loaded are of Arabic singers and famous people… no idea why, as I cannot read Arabic. I only speak a teeny bit. LOL

Maha…  Smile


Hi Maha,

Thanks for linking to the Twtrland site – I hadn’t come across it before. I think one of the most interesting aspects of the site is the insight it gives into how you interact with others on Twitter. For example, my account has 161 replies for every 100 tweets, while 16% of my tweets are RTs, 60% are @replies, 2% are mentions, and less than 10% are ‘plain’ tweets (the other 11% are tweets containing links). A lot of my Twitter presence is very conversational, and is more about interacting with other users than simply sharing information in a broadcast way. Twtrland might be a useful tool when it comes to thinking about how we use Twitter in other weeks’ activities.


About Maha @ Uni

Studying online, and want to keep a record of my progress and experiences...
This entry was posted in Digital Shadows, Google, Privacy, Twitter and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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