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Perform a Background Check: You May Have a Larger Web Presence Than You Think

In an "e-memory" experiment, CNN correspondent John Sutter set about recording video and conversations of himself for a week. While recording yourself for extended periods of time is not necessarily new or groundbreaking, Sutter's intent was to examine the feasibility and give advice rather than offer revelations on his own life and background. Though Sutter was able to conclude a few things, such as spending too much time on Google Reader on deadline days, what was intriguing was how in many ways he had already been keeping surveillance on himself through things such as away messages, twittering, and various iPhone applications. The average person may not think he has a significant digital background, yet in examining Sutter's significant Web presence before his assignment, it makes one wonder if people realize how much and what type of information can be found about them. With so many different mediums to promote yourself, it makes one wonder just how easily someone could perform a background check on you.

For people who prefer to remain anonymous, there are certainly various settings and ways to prevent yourself from being searched, but for the average Web user, trying to create complete anonymity often requires significant time and even money. In examining some of the various people searches and free background checks on the Web, it was evident that the ways to promote yourself are technically ahead of the ability of search engines to piece together a person's entire digital footprint. Yet the strides that various people search services have made in piecing together more traditional background check knowledge has bridged the gap in many ways, and numerous free background checks are extremely comprehensive. Since a Twitter post about what a person had for lunch is fairly irrelevant, this may not necessarily be a huge issue. Yet as the technology and ability of people to link their Web presence improves and becomes more mainstream, good or bad, your Twitter information will likely be bundled with more traditional background information.

You may therefore want to consider investigating what your digital footprint looks like. While there are numerous sites to choose from, if you are searching for important background information, you'll want to use a comprehensive, and most likely professional, people search service that can look at background information from various sources, and will hopefully combine more traditional information with the various social mediums.

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