Google Yourself: The Man with Two Names


Google Yourself: The Man with Two Names

“Google-ing” myself was a particularly interesting assignment for me because I sort of have two names.  Legally, my full name is Thomas Jacob Stresen-Reuter, but for my entire life I have gone by Jake Stresen-Reuter.  I was very interested in seeing how this would create different search results for different names and I definitely was not disappointed.

Thomas Stresen Reuter


Upon conducting this search, the first thing that I noticed was the very interesting image results that came about.  Now that I know what I know about SEO and Image Tags, I suppose I am not surprised to see such diverse results as Google likely returned images with Stresen Reuter in the tags.  I recognized some of the images and names from the search, but I am mostly estranged from this side of the family, so do not really know these people on a personal level.  In fact, the search results for this search were mostly a range of pages related to others with this last name.  I did notice a “White Pages” looking result with my age and location as one of the results that I found interesting.  I also found a posting that listed my position as a graduate assistant from a few years ago.   My current Facebook page for this graduate program was also found on the second page of this search.

Jake Stresen Reuter


This search actually yielded more results that were specifically catered to me.  It’s very interesting that my unofficial name would have more results about me than my legal name.  I suppose in the sense of privacy and “big brother” issues, this is a good thing for me because I don’t necessarily want all of my information out there.  The images that were returned were at least me at the beginning, but there were still some of the same images of people from before.  My current job came back as one of the early results which I liked.  Also, my wedding registry came back as an early result which kind of surprised me.  Some of my graduate program social media account returned in this search, but my personal Twitter did not come back in this search.  Overall, this was definitely the more effective search when searching for me. 

In conclusion, the most interesting thing I took from this assignment was the fact that my two different names really led to completely different search results.  I was surprised to see how many more relevant results came from searching my non-legal name.  One other thing that I found particularly interesting was a search of my common screen name for various services (jakereuter10).  I have used this name since back in the days of AOL Instant Messenger and the results for this search were definitely an in-depth profile of my online accounts and interactions, including social media and various message boards that I participate in. 

Do you have a “screen name” that you have used a lot that might create an interesting Google search?

What are possible SEO benefits/complications that can result of my having two different names?


My Time with the H&M App


The assignment for this week asked us to download the Mobile App for a company and comment on the offerings for the app as well as the usefulness.  I decided to use the app from the store that I had most recently visited, H&M.  The company is already known for their high fashion and low prices, so I was not expecting much in terms of coupons and discounts.  The application was easy enough to find in the iOS App Store and the thumbnail featured the logo of the store on a white backdrop.  There was an indicator in the store that an iPad app was also available, but for the purposes of this review I will only be using the iPhone application.

Upon first opening the application, I was prompted with a request to send me push notifications.  As I do not see any reason where I would suddenly want to be apprised of the happenings with my H&M app, I declined this offer.  Once in the app, the user is defaulted into the “shop” tab which is displayed very similar to a magazine app.  The feel and usability is very similar to a fashion magazine and divided into easy to understand categories.  There is a section for “sale” items within the main page and this appears to be the extent of discounts offered within the app.  Shopping appears to be the main focus of this application and with the addition of an American online store last year, I can understand why this is a big focus.


Other features of the application include a place to be inspired by “looks” that H&M has created for different seasons.  Also, the ability to create a personal account and build outfits to save for later purchase is present.  Finally, the application features internal support should you have any questions while browsing the H&M line.

Overall, I enjoyed my experience on the H&M application.  Rather than trying to lure someone into the store with incentives, this application seems to want to supplement the shopping experience and allow users to be inspired at home.  I think this is a good idea for the brand as sometimes overly pushing incentives can seem tacky and counter-productive to H&M’s desire to be considered a high fashion brand.  I don’t see myself spending much time on the app going forward, but if I were more of a shopper, I probably would.

Do you think stores are missing out on opportunities for new customers by NOT including discount incentives on the application?

Do you shop in applications at all?  (Amazon, eBay, Target, etc.)

Maybe One Life is Enough: My Digital Ethnography Experience in Second Life


This week I will be reflecting on my experience with the program Second Life.  Before this week, I had heard of Second Life both professionally and casually through colleagues sharing experiences on the program as well as reading about stories of classes being held in the Second Life world.  Having experienced online games that also attempt to create a “free roaming digital world” and being a former avid gamer, I must say, I went in with rather high expectations.  


My experience with Second Life started with a few technical glitches.  After creating my account and downloading the relatively small “Second Life Viewer,”  I was disappointed to see that my video card drivers were considered out of date despite being as updated as possible.  (Editor’s Note: The error also said the card itself may be out of date and I suspect that was the cause)  I switched to my laptop and attempted to download the Viewer again with success after not being able to log in the first few attempts.  Eventually however, I was up and running and ready to create my avatar.  I chose one of the 10 or so options available to me at the time and decided to pick a male with hair and skin features closest to mine.  I suppose it is interesting to reflect on the basis for this decision and also the amount of choices available.   Can we really all essentially be boiled down to 10 different variations?  My avatar also came fully dressed and I thought the black tie with a casual jacket was a nice touch.  


I should note I was rather quick about this element of character creation and have always been this way in my history of gaming.  I just wanted to get started, and didn’t particularly care what my character looked like!  To start the game, you are thrust right in the middle of a landing pit of sorts and I immediately notice the classic evidence of “newbs” (or fellow first timers): erratic movements signifying acclimation to the controls. There was even the token newb “pwner” who greeted me by pushing my character into a glitch in the landing pit rendering me unable to move.  I was eventually pushed back into a position where I could move by the same person (Reflecting I assume they are just seeking the thrill of “messing someone up” in the beginning of their experience, gamers will be gamers.) and I was ready to start again.  But where to start?


I suppose this is the dilemma of life as well.  Where do these motivating factors come from that tell us to get a job that we spend 40 hours of our week at?  Why do we feel the need to live in our own home?  Why do we seek the life long companionship of a single partner? In Second Life, I found myself consumed with the idea of just meeting other “players” and trying to talk to them about their experience in the program.  I said hello in the launch pit area and it was returned by two other people.  I eventually would engage in conversation with my first official friend on Second Life, Julia.  I learned that Julia was from Colombia and this was her first experience on Second Life as well.  She did not speak English very well but I thought she was doing fine.  After speaking just a little while, I told Julia I was going to see what else there was to do here.  I followed the arrows on the map and wound up in another landing pit of sorts.  Again noticing the telltale signs of newbs, I began to think this was getting a little redundant. 


The rest of my experience in Second Life involved picking different “destinations” from the bottom of my control center and viewing the ways people were interacting at these locations.  I was surprised to hear region-specific music being played at these locations and even more surprised at the prevalence of the digital currency within the program.  The whole thing felt like a gaming version of craigslist personal ads with different backgrounds for each type of page.  There was no compelling reason to do anything within Second Life and suppose that the educational elements of the program must have involved joining a very specific group that you probably had to be invited to.  I was expecting more freedom and things to do.  I thought there were interesting elements within the program such as a dress code for some of the locations, but did feel changing outfits was more of a chore than it was worth.  


I suppose at the end of the day, I have already been “tarnished” by gaming and was not able to completely engulf myself in the experience of Second Life.  From a digital ethnography view, I’m also not so sure about the research implications available to us as a result of this platform.  There is a lack of guidelines and intuitive roles within the program that interactions with others are simply at the breaking language barrier level.  I did see people dancing and casually interacting on the program, but it always felt forced  or like it was people who were too comfortable with each other, implying they had spent A LOT of time on the program.  So I wonder if the platform is just too large of a buffer in order to really research the way people interact.  Also, the program “lagged” when too many people got together, inhibiting my ability to experience the world.  


Did you have a better experience in Second Life?  Was I a cynic in my experience?  Does that mean I’m a cynic in real life?!?!  🙂


Do you think there is solid ethnography research to be had on this platform?  Can we really study the complexities of human interaction online in a free roam digital environment?

The Results Are In! (Surveys Continued)

I must say, for someone who began last week’s lesson with a complete lack of interest in creating surveys, I sure monitored this one a lot!  It was really exciting to see the results trickle in and even more interesting to watch the “ratios” of the answers either remain constant or slightly change.  I can speculate that the “snowball” was noticeable when it reached my mother’s friends as the demographics began to change and the answers ration shifted in a different direction.  All sorts of implications can be made from this survey and it was only 5 questions!  So let’s get to some of the findings (remember, I was attempting to survey the perceived affordability and accessibility of higher education):

Image   Image

I had a total of 94 people respond to the survey all from various backgrounds.  My age demographic for participation was pretty interesting and almost looked like a bell curve.  Most of my participants (30 out of 94) were between the ages of 45 and 54 and the other groups gradually got smaller as we work our way away from the middle of the curve.  Further, most of my participants have earned a bachelor’s degree.  I found it interesting that 15% of my respondents had already earned a graduate degree as well.  I don’t know many people that have earned a graduate degree, so I wonder if this is one of the examples of a question being misleading.  Maybe people from my graduate program answered this question as “graduate degree” even though they are in progress (there is a difference).


At a ratio of nearly 2:1, most people from my survey felt that higher education is not affordable for most people.  The word “most” I suppose is a potential misnomer from this question and I also think that people can apply their personal situation too easily to the question, but I still found the results to be interesting either way.  Especially when looking at the next question:

ImageAs you can see from this question, a LARGE majority of my respondents feel that higher education is accessible in the United States for most people.  I did use the words “United States” in this question compared to the other and I wonder if this had anything to do with the results.  There really are so many implications these surveys COULD have.  As I go forward, I am not sure I am eager to explore the conceptual possibilities within reading the results of a survey professionally, but I certainly found the survey to be a worthwhile investment in my time (apparently just like higher education):


How could I have re-worded any of these questions to maybe get better results?

Have I changed your thoughts on surveys at all going forward?  Have you worked with surveys at all?