If it was up to me I would just unlist myself and let my personal interactions in life define me—however, in 2018 this isn’t an option.
It today’s world, you have two choices:
let the contributors of the internet run wild and paint whatever picture of you they choose
go on the offensive and write your own story.
I chose the latter.
I really didn’t have much of a choice considering my birthname: Tom Mackrola. The uniqueness of my name is both a blessing and a curse and more so the curse part concerning the issue above.
While Tom Mackrola (me!) has been active on social media since the AOL days, the majority of my activity has been through screen names. Once Facebook started getting larger, I transitioned to using my given name online. Later I became a licensed loan originator and started my consulting business in the real estate industry.
Scrapers and scammers began to notice I cared enough about my future to apply for a license, and started slamming together every bit on info on “Tom Mackrola” they could find. The result? A hodge-podge of half-truths, overt lies, mis-identifications, wrong names, wrong pictures, and on and on. I’m sure you get the picture. One place even had a former college roommate’s address listed as my previous address! I’d never stepped foot in his apartment, and yet—there it was online. My “previous residence”. Something about reading “print” online has almost the same weight as paper, and yet the internet’s nature is one of easily (and cheaply) created information with little to no real vetting. Fake news, people!
The moral of the story is that you have the option to create yourself on the internet. Be sure to use your real name on any sites (that you trust) to get the information indexed by search engines, vetted, and correct. Much of what is posted about people online is rife with garbage, hearsay, misinformation, and so much more that you can’t leave it up to others — especially the scrapers and compilers of data online — to dictate who you are. Take matters into your own hands and make a blog!