Today, we have more tools than ever to connect and communicate online. Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, personal Blogs, web sites, and more. These sites make it easy for us to not only stay in touch with current friends, but they also allow us to get in touch with many whom we have lost touch with. Recently when searching some of these popular sites, I found it difficult to find and identify some of the people I was looking for. Also, when I did find some of the names I was looking for, it was difficult for me to tell if it was the person I was looking for, or someone else with the same name. I did some digging and there are quite a few people that share the same name as me; there was even a famous soccer player in the UK (who died this past August) that came up when I searched for Jamie Dolan. Now, I doubt I would be easily confused for the Jamie Dolan who was a soccer player. There are however, numerous other Jamie as well as James Dolan’s in the US, who are just average people that I could easily be confused for. In fact on some of the large social networking sites mentioned, others have registered and are using my name. Here are some tips that will help others proper identify you;
- Add a clear portrait style photo of yourself. Try to avoid multiple people in the photo, as that often makes it more difficult to figure out who you should be looking at. If it is a photo of you and your child or pet, it is usually pretty clear who they should be looking at.
- Add your location, the more specific the better ( sometimes you do have very valid reasons for wanting to conceal your exact address). I suggest at a minimum adding in your city and state. Your neighborhood location can be very useful if you’re in a large city. I know I am the only Jamie Dolan in Neenah, WI, but am not the only one in the state, so while using just my state would be helpful, it won’t entirely eliminate the potential for confusion.
- Post a valid contact method. If you’re not comfortable posting real contact information or a e-mail address, make sure you setup your social networking sites preferences so that others are allowed to contact you via their service.
- Most sites allow you to post links. Consider adding a link to your home page or blog. If you don’t have a blog or a web page, consider setting up a free blog with a service like Google’s Blogger. I suggest you include the basics we talked about on your blog, including Name, Location, a photo and a contact method.
- Other information that you may choose to include : high school, colleges attended, places you have lived, maiden name, work place, church, and groups or social clubs you belong to.
- Some sites allow you to add a link to family members and friends; this can make it even easier for people to know they found who they are looking for.
If you’re under 18 or if you fear that revealing too much information may compromise your safety, then please be safe and don’t put the information online.