A new report by Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 47% of all Internet users have looked up their own name on a search engine. That's more than twice as much as five years ago.
Pew asked 1,623 Internet users about their views, education, and how they manage information about themselves online. It found, to no surprise, that younger users and those with more education are the most likely to search for themselves on the Internet. Those under 50 and with a college degree are significantly more likely to self-search than their older and less-educated counterparts, as are those with higher household incomes and those who have broadband at home. Men and women are equally likely to perform self-searches.
But only 3 percent of those who have given in to curiosity told Pew that they did so on a regular basis—74 percent said that they had only done it once or twice. The remaining 22 percent said that they did it "every once in a while," although that category can be vague. If asked, I would say that I do it "every once in a while" too, but compared to the general population, I probably do it regularly. What can I say? I'm vain.
Or am I just smart? Pew suggests that people ought to partake in a little 'Net vanity more often in order to ensure that whatever shows up about them is accurate and acceptable for public consumption. Luckily, 87 percent of self-searchers reported having found accurate information on themselves, up from 74 percent in 2002 (but only 62 percent said that the information they found was what they expected). 11 percent said that the information they found was not accurate, and four percent said that they have had "bad experiences" due to inaccurate or embarrassing information being available.