Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Mishmash: a confused conglomeration of mismatched information (my definition)

Internet factual personal data independently collected by commercial sites is highly suspect in the event you have any doubts. Specifics about themselves revealed by individuals, or those who know them, on social network sites are a different matter but could be questionable, too.

On a whim I thought I'd see what personal information about me some commercial sites offered free to readers who searched my name. What a hoot! I've never seen such a mishmash of mixed information. I hope no one is ever foolish enough to actually pay any of those sites money to see whatever other data they claim they may or may not have about me. (I don't know what they might have, since I wasn't about to subscribe to find out.)

First of all, the sites often don't even have my name spelled correctly. A nonexistent middle name's initial is indicated in other instances. These name listings are as mixed up as the credit reporting agencies were the last time I checked their written reports (facts they can't seem to get straight.) Reviewing further family data purported to be about me revealed continuing grossly erroneous information including total family members and names in the household.

This experience caused me to wonder how accurate these sites would be for a few other family members and friends, or to question if only my listing was inaccurate. I needed to search but a few names to discover their data was as bollixed up as my own.

Frankly, I'm quite accepting of the fact much data about me on those commercial Internet sites is untrue. I hope anyone who might refer to those sites realizes they may contain little more than a grain of fact in an ocean of misinformation. I have no intention of correcting falsehoods or providing missing particulars to any of those sites.

I guess I belong to a minority group that doesn't welcome the gathering of information about me, that is consolidated in one such public centralized location so readily available for marketing. So, I don't intend to take any corrective action to aid in their so-called fact gathering. At best this effort only slows the assault on my personal privacy.

This Internet activity set me thinking. Just as many individuals seek celebrity today -- either the famous or infamous variety seems desired by many -- numerous other people are dedicated to compiling as many facts as possible about each of us as a way for them to make money. They lead us to embrace the idea that revealing all about ourselves on the Internet is desirable. I think, despite rhetoric to the contrary, the primary motivation for gathering information about us is purely commercial -- to find a way to entice advertising dollars.

Eventually, one day the great computer with infinite storage in the cloud will know all there is to know about us. The mechanical wisdom of this computer, that will have been designed to program itself, will spew forth selected knowledge unique to each of our needs and desires. When we consult that digital wizard about products and other matters each of us will automatically be offered predetermined choices presumed to be our preferences.

I wonder if the computer will know to offer me a pair of special shoes I always wanted? Maybe I shouldn't wait for the wizard to intuit the wish of this then young girl who longed for springs on her shoe soles in preference to the pogo stick she never had. There were no such shoes with springs then, as far as I know, but finally, these many years later, someone somewhere has designed that footwear. Hm-m-m! I wonder if there's a model suitable for elders?


  1. Joared--You have put your finger on why I do not allow search engines access to my blog. As you have experienced, much info out there is wrong - and - thank you, I'll let it go. I did try to correct a credit report, once; but, the result was no better than what had been included originally. Thus...they have me working for many years for a non-existent firm. Oh, well. The only reason I care about my credit reports, at all, is the way the affect my auto insurance rate.
    Cop Car

  2. I've never really looked at those sites...and I don't plan to. I find the whole idea of information...or misinformation about us very uncomfortable. If I found info on myself or my family that was inaccurate or blatantly wrong, it would bother me....until I could find a way to fix it; which probably isn't possible in most cases. I'm telling you JoAnn...these sites, and computers in general, are out to get us all. ~Joy

  3. CopCar: I don't know how to prevent search engines access to my blog as I expect many bloggers don't. This sort of information is not usually up front and accessible to the ordinary and less tech-savy user. I think default should always give the user an opt in spelling out the information about me and the tracking Internet entities will do. I expect often that's what we sanction in the small print as the condition for using whatever the web site.

    Joy: I should clarify that I DO CARE that incorrect information about me is provided anywhere, including on any website. What I clumsily was saying was that I don't give credence to those commercial websites, so that's why I don't care about them -- BUT I am concerned others may take their information seriously. Regardless, I resent I would have to give them information they clearly don't have to prevent their spreading false information sorta like the tabloids.

  4. Joared--It may not be possible to hide your blog from search engines on Blogger. It might, however, be worth checking into. When I first set up each of my blogs, TypePad gave me the option of being open or closed to search engines. I have always closed mine. I can always open it, if I wish to do so, but can't imagine why I would do that. Do contact someone at Blogger to see if you have the option.
    I'm with you that you should have to opt-in to have your blog open to search engines, though.
    Cop Car

  5. I have checked several sites that say they have info on me - and most of it is false or mixed-up, especially the credit reports. They had our credit mixed in with our older daughter's and her first husband. Sheeeesh!

  6. Your survey on web information accuracy and availability confirmed my worst fears. Really like those shoes, though!