70% of college grads self-Google

It seems George Clooney isn't the only one.

The Pew Research Center recently released the results of a study examining Internet users' habits when it comes to checking up on their own online reputation through search engines. The trends are unmistakable. 57% of all users have conducted a search on their own name, and that number shoots up to 65% of users under the age of 30. The highest single group of self-searchers are college graduates, at 70%.

MediaPost Publications has a good summary of the data, including some thoughts on what this trend means for the online marketing and advertising industry:

At one time people called the act of Googling yourself on a search engine a vanity search or ego-surfing. Now it's a matter of self-preservation. The practice has long been a part of managing brand reputation, but individuals have learned the value of keeping track of information being collected and posted online about them, too. A study released this week could give advertisers insight into targeting paid search and display ads through behavior and social graphs.

Will the possibility of advertising on terms as targeted as an individual's name raise some concerns among privacy advocates? The increasing amount of attention being paid to search trends like this one definitely raises the stakes on our online reputations.

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