Journalism skills / Resources

Let’s get nosey… the power of Google.

By Annette Stevens.

Lately, Google has got into a lot of trouble for keeping unsolicited data such as addresses, emails, passwords, etc. However, for journalists covering ‘the next big thing’, it can be such a a useful resource, for finding out little snippets of information, just with the click of a button! The phrase ‘Google it’ has become so common that the word ‘Google’ has changed word forms… is it a verb? (Perhaps that is the grammar-freak inside of me!).

So this got me thinking…what would Google know about you? Or, more importantly, what would you not want employees to find out about you? Do you know that nearly everything you do on the internet, social media, blogging, etc. can be picked up by Google? Perhaps this post might be a word of warning…

I put this to the test, by ‘Googling’ Amy Packham:

Amy Packham

  • At the top was the blog “Jump for journalism”, followed by some pages, then writing for The Huffington Post – but which of these applied to the real Amy? This is just some information I found out from Google:

From Amy’s personal Twitter channel:

-Recently her car needed to be repaired

-She went to Tulley’s farm in October.

-She likes the X Factor band, Rough Copy.

-She is an editorial assistant for PTA+ magazine.

-It was the first listing on Google (@Amypackham15).

General results;

-Amy has written for The Huffington Post

-Amy has also written for Your Coffee Break.

From pages of Jump for journalism:

-Amy studied English Language and Creative Writing at Lancaster University.

-Amy has a Multimedia Journalism Diploma, courtesy of the NTCJ

-Amy can be contacted by the following emails:

And you know what?

Every bit of information I found was true. And that really does show how good Google is as a resource for young journalists. To allow people to find out some things about you, you need to have some basic knowledge of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation):

Wikipedia (my go -to resource!) defines it as:

“Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”) search results.”

That really explains it to me. Luckily, Amy has a rather high SEO, which can lead people to notice her, and her interests in this industry. If you have a blog, usually there are settings that allow you to make SEO work for you through keywords and headings.

My tips for this week:

+ If you’re a blogger, allow your domain (E.g WordPress, Blogger.com) to let search engines see your blog. That way, it can reach more people.

+For publication, if online, add tags to your post. This means that if someone Googles your tag, it could lead to your work..

+Give everything a distinctive, unique name! It will only make search engines be able to find you easier.

+Network, network, network!  If you link up to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, etc., use them.  It will not only show your versatility, but also allow search engines to find you!

Annette

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