Behold the power of Google!

21 Sep

With the introduction of the Google search engine in 1998 and the advent of Facebook in 2004, internet stalking has jumped to a completely new level. Instead of wondering if the tall, dark and mysterious guy in your POSC 442 class has a girlfriend, you can just look on his Facebook page and while you’re at it, find out that he was born in Cupertino, Calif., that he has two sisters and that his favorite activities include “your mom.” The death of privacy is finally upon us as the trail of digital footprints can lead anywhere.

In an attempt to measure the digital footprint or online presence of one of my classmates, I decided to Google her name along with “USC” or “Saugus High School” just to see what I would find. I didn’t find anything too salacious, and her digital footprint wasn’t as large as other people I decided to arbitrarily Google, but the scope of what I was able to find out about her was surprising.


She attended Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, Calif., where she was the news editor of her high school newspaper, The Scroll. Friedman was also a contributor to her school’s yearbook, The Sword and Shield and won a National Yearbook Excellence Award in 2007 as well as a Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award in 2008.

Also in 2004, the Canyon Theatre Group awarded her with a “Goldie” as Best Female Youth in Leading Role  for her portrayal of Anne Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank.

What I gleaned from her LinkedIn page is that she is currently an administration beat writer for The Daily Trojan, that she was a copy editor before that, and that she spent her summer interning for Senator Diane Feinstein in Washington D.C.  She also has garnered scores of awards including second place in the Undergraduate Writer’s Conference in 2009, a Cowan Scholarship from USC in 2007 as well as a Town and Gown Scholarship in 2007. She is also the scholarship chair in Sigma Delta Tau, a sorority at USC.

After I moved on to her Facebook page, I found out her interests include, but are not limited to free cheese samples, playing the rain, Anderson Cooper, shaking it like a salt shaker and iced tea.  Her favorite music includes Jason Mraz, the Beatles, John Mayer and Chris Brown (minus the Rihanna altercation). Her favorite movies include Snakes on a Plane and From Justin to Kelly in the top two with Good Will Hunting and A Beautiful Mind rounding out the bottom picks.  In her About Me section, she simply lists “feugo, feugo” which is Spanish for “fire,fire,” and from her Education and Work section, one can learn that she is majoring in print journalism and political science.

Friedman also has her own blog at and her most recent post was a stalking report on her classmate, Anita Little.


3 Responses to “Behold the power of Google!”

  1. Devone Barone September 19, 2009 at 4:12 pm #

    You made an good point regarding the consequences of the internet age – the death of privacy. The extended example reinforces your central claim because it not only reveals the dept up but also the ease of accessing personal information on the internet. To improve your post, I wish you explained the benefits and consequence of the loss of privacy. For example, Maybe losing individual privacy is beneficial for the hiring process: Applicants can lie less about their backgrounds and experiences in an interview. I do not know if the internet has increased stalking but do believe its transformed the nature of stalking, what researchers have termed cyber stalking. Great Title.

  2. The Cart November 30, 2009 at 9:46 pm #

    I also made note of the somehow all-seeing eye of Google on my site .
    The goal of this access to information, as far as Google is concerned, is advertising. If they (it?) can know everything about a person, especially favourite bands, TV shows, etc, then they can more accurately advertize to that person, putting more money in their pocket. It all comes down to what is the most profitable business strategy for Google.

  3. katie December 7, 2009 at 6:35 am #

    It’s scary how in just a few years of the internet, so much information is available to essentially anyone. With facebook, anyone can control the information they post about themselves, but with the scope of google, all information is uncensored. It definitely makes people less able to lie about their background but also opens up an entire new world to stalkers. As comedian Demetri Martin said “on the downside, [the internet is] loaded with sexual predators. On the plus side, it’s also loaded with sexual prey.”

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