Information Technology and Informatics


STEP 1: Complete the reading: Coutu, D. (2007). We Googled YouPreview the document. Harvard Business Review, 85, 37-41. Reference key ideas in this journal article as you complete the activity.

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STEP 2: Conduct Google searches on ONE of the high-profile contemporary individuals listed below.

TIP! Searching the individual’s name in different ways (e.g., first + last name, last name only, nickname, using quotation marks around the individual’s name, etc.) will produce different results. Scroll through the results to see which ones have to do with your selected individual, as opposed to someone who shares that name but is not a high-profile persona.

  • Jaron Lanier
  • Antonio Garcia Martinez
  • Tim Berners-Lee
  • Ellen Pao
  • Can Duruk
  • Kate Losse
  • Tristan Harris
  • Rich Kyanka
  • Sheryl Sandberg
  • Ethan Zuckerman
  • Pierre Omidyar
  • Dan McComas
  • Sandy Parakilas
  • Guillaume Chaslot
  • Tim Cook (CEO of Apple)
  • Roger McNamee
  • Richard Stallman
  • Sean Parker (first president of Apple Corp.)
  • Chamath Palihapitiya
  • Marc Benioff

STEP 3: As you search and view information on the individual you have selected, take pertinent notes that address the questions below.

STEP 4a (Your Initial Post) directions:

The total word count (your answers to questions 1-8) is around 800-1,000 words.

TIP! Copy-and-paste the questions below and respond to them in your initial posting to make sure that you answer all eight questions.

  1. Who is the person you selected for the ‘Google Gotcha!’ Activity?
  2. What does the Internet say about your selected individual generally speaking? Does the person seem to have a positive, negative, or mixed presence on the web?
  3. What types of information have been collected and/or shared about this individual (e.g., birth date, photos, phone number, address, websites, blogs, social media pages, etc.)?
  4. Does the information collected about this person and his/her online presence benefit this individual? Does the individual use an “Online Reputation Firm” to promote a positive image (or to downplay negative publicity)? Be specific and give examples.
  5. Does the information collected about this person and his/her online presence hurt this individual (even for someone with nothing to hide)? Be specific and give examples.
  6. Does information collected on this individual benefit the search company (i.e., Google)? If yes, in what way? Why would search companies want to collect this information? Again, give concrete examples.
  7. What advice would you give to this individual about their online presence?
  8. In addition to searching for the selected individual, do a Google search on your own name. DO NOT WRITE WHAT YOU FIND ABOUT YOURSELF IN THE ASSIGNMENT. Given what you find through the Google search, reflect upon the following questions: What are the implications and ramifications of having private and sensitive information about individuals – and about personally having information (and pictures) about YOU! – readily available on the web for all to see? What are the risks? Do you think the benefits outweigh the drawbacks? Why or why not?

Important!: To receive a good grade, you must incorporate concepts presented in the Coutu (2007) – We Googled YouPreview the document article (above) into your initial posting and follow-up postings!

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