Have you ever Googled your own name?

For anyone who has blogged for any length of time, you’ll likely find dozens of pages which link to your blog posts or comments you left on other blogs.

You can also find if someone referred to you or a blog post, but didn’t provide a link.

Today’s Lesson

I recently Googled my name and found the usual entries – blog posts and comments I have left online.

However, one entry stood out.
is a blogger an expert discussion

It was for a research paper a student from Penn State University (PSU) had done on the topic of introverts.

He said, in part,

I find insatiable interest in the introverted personality style particularly as it relates to learning and the impact that blogging can make on aiding academic performance when used in the classroom. According to Swafford (2009),* there are about 11 characteristics of the introverted personality type that lends itself well to blogging:

He then listed the examples I included in the blog post, Are Introverts Better Bloggers?

Knowing I had done my homework for that post, I wasn’t concerned, but it reminded me, what we share on our blogs is often deemed as “accurate”.

Lets’ face it; if something is published online, many will assume it’s true. Many will repeat what they read.

Thankfully I’ve always tried to blog both accurately and responsibly, but can you imagine my embarrassment if I hadn’t?

How about you?

Today’s Assignment

When you hit the publish button, do you realize what you’re sharing in your blog post(s) could be used as reference material?

Does it, or will it make a difference in how you blog?

Care to share?

signature for blog post

*emphasis added for the purpose of this post

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  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Gail Gardner and Barbara Swafford, Stan Carter Jr.. Stan Carter Jr. said: Repeat After Me http://bit.ly/fh3eq2 [...]

  2. Kelvin KaoNo Gravatar says:

    I haven’t written anything that I think will be quoted on for my puppetry blog, but I do try to make sure everything is correct on my programming blog. I am not aware of any of those being quoted yet, since the topic was somewhat obscure. However, since few have written on the topic (Protocol Buffers on iOS devices), I am pretty sure it’s being used as authoritative information by most people that searched for the topic, so I do want to make sure that everything is correct.
    Check out Kelvin Kao’s awesome post.Theatre Puppetry Workshop Beginning- Weeks 1- 2My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kelvin,

      I hear you. Although I don’t know anything about Protocol Buffers on iOS devices, if I was looking for information about programming, I’d want it to be correct. Can you imagine the problems that could be created if it wasn’t?

  3. Mike GoadNo Gravatar says:

    Yes, and some of what I’ve written on copyright has been and is being used as a reference. http://www.pddoc.com/copyright/

    I try to include valuable and accurate content in my posts when they include information about anything. However, the validity of what I post is from my perspective.

    I don’t worry that others may use what I write as a reference.
    Check out Mike Goad’s awesome post.Images from Bannack – 005My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mike,

      I’m not surprised you’ve been quoted, but I would have guessed it would be some of your Civil War entries.

      You’re right. What we share is from our own perspective, but yet (some) others deem what we say as expert advice or knowledge. (And I think that has a lot to do with how we present the information.)

  4. FriarNo Gravatar says:

    If people use my blog as reference material, our educational system is in much worse trouble that I thought.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      LOL Friar,

      Good point. Some blogs will obviously be seen as the blog author’s opinion, record of their own experience or humor and would probably not be used as a reference.

  5. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. I can see various references .. and the fact that my Facebook friends are listed .. that surprised me. I write as accurately as I can .. but you might have influenced me away from some more personal things I was going to write about in my next post ..

    Thanks for the warning .. I love the “Swafford says ..” but as you say you wonder how much validation they did over your words etc .. I know you – but who on earth knows “Swafford” .. not me .. I know ‘my Barbara’!! Cheers Hilary
    Check out Hilary’s awesome post.Food- Food- Glorious food and memories and- and Part 1 !My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      *smiles* Hilary,

      Yeah! The “Swafford” thing was a little different for me to read, too. :)

      I agree. It is amazing what we find when we Google our name. It’s like Google picks up every association we have online. In some ways it can feel like an invasion of privacy, but on the other hand, it’s a good reminder to monitor what we say and who we associate with.

  6. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    I have three blogs. Two are pretty much just fun and I cannot imagine anyone using them to reference anything. This post of yours has made me think perhaps I should have a disclaimer on one in particular as it is just my ramblings and rantings. ;)

    The third, and to me the important one, I am careful of what I write. I do not think anyone would use it as reference material but it is a devotional type blog and I do not want to mislead anyone with my thoughts.
    Check out Patricia’s awesome post.War and PeaceMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Patricia,

      I’m guessing “fun” blogs would be seen as that, but one never knows. I like your idea of including a disclaimer. Although I have one (in the footer), from looking at my stats, I see it’s rarely ever clicked on.

      You’re right though. We do not want to mislead others with our own thoughts and opinions.

  7. Mandy AllenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara, ‘According to Swafford’…did you feel exalted? I think your writing is very accurate. I can see what you mean about people taking it as truth, don’t we often do that with newspapers? I speak from experience, speak from feelings, so I never question whether I am right, what I write is right for me. Very good point you have made.

    Enjoy the journey.

    Mandy
    Check out Mandy Allen’s awesome post.Don’t over commitMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      LOL Mandy,

      Exalted? No not really, but when I read my words in his reference paper, I thought, “Did I say that? That sounds pretty good” :)

      That’s true. We do believe what we read in newspapers, and magazines too, so it’s no wonder that people will believe what we post on our blogs because it’s online.

      I like that: “What I write is right for me”.

  8. Hi Barbara,

    (Love this blog. Been lurking here a few months.)

    I just recently had this same kind of realization. I am contracted to write some in depth homeschool curriculum reviews on my blog. Just last week I learned that one of my posts was quoted in a print version of a writing curriculum. When I read it I thought, “Wow. They make it sound like I know what I’m talking about!”

    Very sobering indeed.

    While I always did my best to post accurate and honest info, this definitely made me more aware of the perceptions of others.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Welcome Lorie,

      It’s great to see you sharing your thoughts. :)

      Thank you for sharing your experience. It goes to show how what we share can lead to us being commissioned to expand on our knowledge. We never know who’s reading our work, do we?

  9. I don’t worry too much about it.

    My Legal page says, “MomGrind® is a blog Site. The Site publishes rumors, opinions and speculations, in addition to accurately reported information. Information on the site may contain errors or inaccuracies; VDL, Inc. does not make any warranty as to the correctness or reliability of the site’s content.”

    I think that covers it. :)
    Check out vered | blogger for hire’s awesome post.No Poo No Thanks Or- How I Went 10 Days Without ShampooingMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vered,

      Yes. Your disclaimer does cover it, and with you being an ex-attorney, I’ll bet you’re well aware of how the information we share online could be used against us.

      Thank you for the reminder that disclaimers ARE important.

  10. HenwayNo Gravatar says:

    I agree with the above posters… if someone is using my blog comment as reference, we’re in trouble…
    Check out Henway’s awesome post.GoDaddy Domain TipsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Henway,

      It’s not just blog comments, but what we share on our blogs, too. All the more reason to monitor what we’re sharing online, OR have a great disclaimer (like Vered- see above comment).

  11. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    Oh gosh…I never dared look. Having said that, I know of another “Evelyn Lim” who happens to be a doctor or something in Singapore. Hopefully, no one gets us confused.

    I love how Vered put the disclaimer on her blog, though!
    Check out Evelyn Lim’s awesome post.Power Words for Intention Setting In 2011My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Evelyn,

      Look! You never know. Oddly enough, when I Google “Barbara Swafford”, I find links to dozens of others with the same name. Having said that, I often wonder if the other “Barbara Swaffords” do the same and find all of my blog entries and comments. ( I have had a couple of “Swaffords” show up here or on Twitter – no relation – although I do address Kaye Swafford (blogger) as “cousin”)

  12. George AngusNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara,

    If you think that’s something, try searching your name under Google Images! Oy, I had no idea…

    George

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Geroge,

      I just did that. Where do all of those images come from? For one, I do see they attach images of the gravatars of fellow bloggers, but I can’t figure out if Google picks them up from my blog, or from the blog of the comment authors. Oy is right. :)

  13. Alien GhostNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    Well, clearly you have become an authority; not only about blogging, but many other areas too!

    Definitely we have to be the most accurate possible in our claims when posting something in our blogs. Not only for the possibility of the material being used as a reference, but also as the possible legal implications that might come with it, as you mention in one of your previous posts.

    And after reading your post I went on to check, and I can happily report that I am still enjoying the quiet pleasures of the anonymity :)

    Raul
    Check out Alien Ghost’s awesome post.We Are Cars!My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Raul,

      That’s right. There could be legal implications to what we post, as well.

      During the recent shootings in Arizona, I was reminded of how, what we share online is so easily accessible, especially by the authorities, as well as the media.

  14. Thanks for the reminder, Barbara. I wrote posts about Theresa Bond, a northern Canadian Bush Pilot. She and I were close friends while I worked in the North. She died a number of years ago, but she had wanted me to write her story. She was supposed to record her life stats and experiences – which never happened. So I blogged about the part of her life that I knew.

    I’m so glad I made sure of dates, etc. I was contacted by her brother (in another country) who is, in fact, writing a book about her life now. I was contacted by an arm of the Government who want to do a memorial in her honour. All of that came out of left field so I was so relieved that I stood solid in my facts.

    I work at remembering that we never know when something may come out of the woodwork.
    Check out Amy@ Soul Dipper’s awesome post.What the Blog am I DoingMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Amy,

      Thank you for sharing that. Your story is a great reminder of how important it is to be accurate in what we post and how others may turn to us for additional details. That said, you’re now seen as an authority on Theresa Bond. :)

      I agree. We never know when something might come out of the woodwork.

  15. What a great reminder! I know that bunches of folk have no problem making up facts and/or fiction, but being accurate (as much as possible!) is the mark of an excellent blogger.

    Good stuff!
    Check out Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach’s awesome post.Google Secrets 5 – Taking Advantage of Google KnolsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Barbara,

      That’s true. When we share accurate information, not only do our readers return to learn more from us, but it builds up our online reputation, as well.

  16. suzenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara!
    Good point – I try to site my own sources but I sure do give a lot of opinions. At least I will have to put a disclaimer I am not a doctor but most of the time I’m putting down the medical community at large so much, I’m sure people get that – but it’s best not assume I suppose.

    Never thought to google myself – duh. I would think my topics would pop up more than my name since I played suZen and all. I may pay more attention to this when my website is up and running.

    Always good stuff here!
    hugs
    suZen
    Check out suzen’s awesome post.Drugs – Not for YOU but for Profit!My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Suzen,

      Exactly. Even though we believe what we’re sharing is obviously just our opinion, having a disclaimer stating we’re not in the medical profession is a good idea when posting information regarding health.

  17. Keith DavisNo Gravatar says:

    I think that the power to find almost anything is one of the more sinister parts of the web.

    If Google can return 18million results in less than a second!
    It can certainly find everything that we’ve ever written in posts and comments.

    I don’t present my material as factual.
    Simply as my opinion so I have no problems with it being quoted.
    Check out Keith Davis’s awesome post.Chocolat…My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Keith,

      Isn’t that the truth? Just like in real life, the web can be sinister, too.

      With blogs, I don’t know how many are actually “factual”, but because the information is online, many will believe they are.

  18. Mrs. MeansNo Gravatar says:

    After following several blogs for a year, I recently started my own blog. But I realize there is a lot I don’t know about blogging. So I did a search today hoping to find a blog to teach me about blogging. And I found this blog! I’m excited to have found a resource to help me. I’ve already read several of your older posts and I look forward to reading your posts in my reader on a regular basis.
    Check out Mrs. Means’s awesome post.Cereal BarsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mrs. Means,

      Welcome to the world of blogging. I hope you find it as enjoyable as I do. :)

      By digging through the older posts on this blog, you’ll find lots of hints and tips. If time permits, read the comments as well since that’s where the value truly lies on this blog.

      And if you ever have a question you can’t find the answer to, please do not hesitate to ask – either here in the comments or via my contact form.

      Happy Blogging!

  19. RichardNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,
    Well, I always figured whatever I post could be used as a resource for other bloggers and perhaps a learning tool.

    It never occurred to me that someone might actually cite a blog in a research paper. That’s a bit scary. But overall, I feel the same as you in the sense that I work hard to give accurate information in my blog posts as it is.
    Check out Richard’s awesome post.10 Ways to Take Your Blog to the Next LevelMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Richard,

      That’s true. We don’t think what we share could be used as a part of a research paper, but I’m guessing if others are looking for information to complete their project, where they find it becomes irreverent.

  20. I never thought that an article from a blog has been used as a reference for a research paper. I only encounter it from blog to blog. But then I guess that’s the use of internet and blogging nowadays. And for that, bloggers should always see to it that what they share are accurate and true. :D

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Website Repair Specialists,

      Like you, I see information shared between blogs all of the time, but when we realize those who are writing research papers may be using what we post too, accuracy and truth become essential.

  21. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    Wow this was fun and good information sharing – It is your accurate observation, which the student noted….

    I try not to google my name because there is a Canadian Actress ( from Anne of Green Gables series) and I get hundreds of pages of her and then my ex-sister in law with the same name – all her court cases! My name is just way too popular, though my middle name makes a difference.
    Check out Patricia’s awesome post.WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY- Self-Control in an Age of Excess Daniel AkstMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Patricia,

      You’re right. It does make a difference when we Google ourselves if their are dozens of others with the same name. Instead of Googling your name, try “Patricias Wisdom” or your complete URL. You’ll probably find more accurate results with that.

  22. LOL, Barbara… I just Googled my name and it came up at the top of page one :) Fancy that! I guess as much as we have to be mindful of what we share, we also have to be mindful of what we’re reading and make our judgments carefully.

    I’m pretty careful what I say, but there have been times when I’ve been kidding around being a little rambunctious and later wished I hadn’t been.
    Check out Davina Haisell’s awesome post.Editing with AdverbsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      LOL Davina,

      You’re Number ONE!

      That’s a good point. Sometimes we say something in humor or like you said, when we’re being goofy and our words can be misconstrued. And unfortunately, once we put it “out there”, there’s no taking it back. :(

  23. LeoNo Gravatar says:

    “can you imagine my embarrassment if I hadn’t?”

    Better still, imagine his/hers if your blog post was ironic or to be taken with a grain of salt. He might not have noticed the subtlety and just copied your work regardless?

    Students should be a lot more careful about what they copy – not that there was anything wrong with your post ;)
    Check out Leo’s awesome post.Accountant SEO Q&A- Google PageRank- what it is… and most importantly- what it’s notMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Leo,

      That’s true. In fact I remember hearing a story on the news where a student quoted something they found online and got a bad grade on their paper. It was a good reminder to check the sources we refer to since some can be completely incorrect.

  24. Barbara;
    You make some good points. But the reverse is true too… when doing research, you have to make sure that what you’re reading is accurate or you’re just passing on bad info.

    Once you write it, it’s out there for all to read – a lot of people forget that little point and it comes back to bite them.