So what are your views on googling people? (Knitsteel is opposed to the use of “google” as a verb, and I think of her every time I do it.) It seems to me that all tech-savvy people should assume that everyone has access to everything about them on the internet, so no one should object to being googled.
That is, if you have a blog, you should assume unless it is proven otherwise that everyone you know can and may read it. If there are pictures of your drunken revels on Facebook, you should figure that everyone can see them.
People who are not tech-savvy imagine that there is such a thing as privacy on the internet. Yeah. And your neighbors, your coworkers, and the people at church have no idea what you do with your free time. There is no more privacy on the internet than IRL.
I don’t believe in gossip, but I do believe in research. Chances are, if you have a blog, I read it. I probably don’t go look at your pictures on Facebook, but someone else might have shown them to me and/or described them to me. And certainly, just as we used to tell students to hang out near the elevators when they were applying for jobs in order to see what the company’s dress code was, you ought to google anyone you plan to work for. It is courteous to go to the trouble to find out about them.
The real question is this: is it courteous, if you know lots of extra stuff about people, to bring it up when you talk with them, or not?
I’m not sure about this. I think that I should not, when I talk with an acquaintance, make any reference to things I happen to know about that person because we live in a small town. If I happen to know about her son’s arrest record and she knows funny stories about my husband, we can both serenely pretend not to know those things, because we haven’t told them to each other.
However, when a fellow bookseller called me yesterday morning and mentioned in passing his experiences with discounting, I thought it completely proper to tell him that I had heard about that at the time. Being up to date on people’s professional lives just shows that you’re knowledgeable.
What about when the lines get blurred? Certainly, I know about my clients’ awards and portfolios. However, do I officially know about their families or where they live? Does it make a difference whether they are male or female? Does it make a difference how adept they are with computers? If they will think I don’t know whether they have kids merely because I was too lame to look it up, are the rules different for them than for someone who thinks her home page can only be seen by people with passwords?
I’m minding a bookstore today. I’ve also been asked about working a couple of days at a sale at another bookstore. Maybe I can be a bookstore sitter. Actually, I had a call asking whether I would consider managing a store yesterday. It is too bad a commute for the going rate of pay, so I said no. #2 daughter couldn’t believe that I had turned down a job. I have a phone interview this morning for a job with an even worse commute, but chances are it pays better. Janalisa said last night that I should make a sincere effort to add some more clients, whether I have time for them or not, just to see whether I am as dependent on my two big clients as I think I am. If I do that while under contract, then I will have sufficient income when the contract ends — or else know that I should still be jobhunting. Or not turning down retail management positions.
In other news, #1 daughter called yesterday to ask whether she could move back in with us. After working through her budget, she has decided that she can’t afford to go to school in Cowboy Land without working full time, and she is afraid that she won’t be able to handle working full time and school at the same time. Her boss down there is going to try to help her find something part time while she’s here, and she’ll go back to school full time. They said they’ll have a job for her when she finishes, if she wants to go be a cowgirl. She might miss it. We might be too sedate for her now that she’s been in Cowboy Land for a while.