by Diann Daniel

Pew Study: Vanity Googles on the Rise

Dec 18, 20072 mins

Almost half of Web surfers have used Google or another search engine to find information about themselves online.

Self-googling is up by 25 percent since 2002, according to a study released this week by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The number of Internet users who have searched for themselves online at least once has risen to 47 percent, from just 22 percent in 2002.

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However, 22 percent monitor themselves just every once in awhile, while only 3 percent monitor themselves regularly. Seventy-four percent of self-searchers have searched for themselves online just once or twice.

That frequency is higher for those whose jobs require a greater online footprint. Ten percent of Internet users have a job that requires them to market or monitor their online presence. And those who are required to market themselves online are more likely to do so with a search engine—68 percent as compared to 48 percent who are not required to market themselves online.

Those with a higher education are also more likely to be expected to do online self-marketing: Eighteen percent of working college graduates have employers who expect their employees to promote themselves online as compared with 5 percent of employed adults without a college education.

Twenty percent of working adults say their employer has policies about how their employees can present themselves online, including what information can be shared.

Other interesting notes:

Teens are more likely to have some type of access restrictions on their online profiles: 77 percent of teens say their profile is visible versus 82 percent of adults. Still, teens are far more likely to use social networking: 55 percent as compared with 20 percent of adults.

More than half of adult Internet users have looked up other people. Fifty-three percent have searched for information on family, friends, romantic interests or business colleagues. Eleven percent say they have searched for information on someone they were thinking of hiring or working with, and 19 percent have looked up colleagues or competitors. But users are most likely to use search for lost connections. Thirty-six percent have searched for information on someone from their past that they have lost touch with.

The study polled 1,623 Internet users older than 18.