Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Monday, December 21, 2009

To Google, Or Not To Google

I think I know where this is going, the selection of the next town Administrator that is. I recently read in a local paper that folks involved in the process were "googling" the candidates in order to obtain more information about each one than what was learned in their interviews.

Nothing strange about that.

Folks have been googling candidates, checking out their Facebook, Twitter, and My Space pages since their inception in order to get a better understanding of those under the spotlight. Job candidates, nannies, candidates for grad school, city government, or the guy that you are thinking of hiring to mow your lawn, all go under the stealth like Google magnifying glass.

Cripes, we even google our neighbors.

There are web sites out there that will even search the public records around the country, if you choose to pay for it, in order to find out about a persons criminal past, credit rating, history of foreclosures, marital status, divorce records, liens, small claims actions, in fact, anything you would care to know about an individual is available on line, including all the media reports as well.

Today, unlike just a few years ago, anything that one does, writes, or uploads to the Internet is there forever, even
if they delete it locally. Somewhere, someone has it on their computer, or in a download folder on their desktop. The same is true for public records. They have always been available, but now with just a few clicks, they are very accessible.

Media reports about a person are easily found as well. Some are free, some require a small fee to view, but if one wants to get another view of a candidate, all they need to do is read up on them in their local paper.

Yep. Hard to keep a secret nowadays.

So, as I was saying, I think I know where this going.

We have three final candidates for the position of Town Administrator, and each has done their best to answer questions posed to them, and to present themselves in the best possible light to the interviewers, but what will be the ultimate way the candidate is chosen is what is found online, and in some cases, what is not found. Yes, I know, it is all about the process, and this other stuff doesn't play into it.


One may have questions like, why one candidate has had several town administrator positions in past several years and one of them was held for a very short time, but there is nothing in the media about why they lasted only a short time. One candidate was bought out their contract by the town they were administrator for. Why? Simple questions that the candidates can each
address during an interview, but there are those that may want a different view, and the Internet will give it to them.

Nowadays, we not only have to be on our best behavior, we must also keep in mind that even if we are, there are those that may hold a different opinion, and share that opinion online for the world to see. We also have to keep in mind whatever we say online, or write, will be there forever. The fact one may act like an ass one year, but find God the next year, won't matter much, since it is the "bad" stuff that people want to know about, no matter how wonderful the person is today. Just look at how Robert Downey Jr. has struggled to recoup after having a bad time in his life years ago. He is succeeding, but not easily.

Yes, the final candidate will not only have to score high in the interviewing process, but leave no questions unanswered that folks find online as well.

Welcome to the other side of the "Information Highway".


  1. As usual, a very thoughtful article. If only everyone would take the time to think things through like you do, the task of choosing a Town Administrator might be a little easier. Listening to the televised interviews from the Selectman's meeting, certainly, to my mind, clearly showed that one candidate stood out in having the knowledge and seemingly the personality to do a fine job in our New England hometown. I did search Google, etc. and found nothing to change that in my mind. How many folks wish they could have taken back some silly little thing said in frustration years ago, and how many folks have been accused of saying something they never said in the first place??? This is no big deal and hopefully won't be turned into one.

  2. I believe the point of that article you read about using Google for research was that just Googling is not enough. In order to obtain accurate, complete information, one should Google until raw. And not just Google, but use any and all types of information sources one can get their fingers on.

    Apparently, some folks were being critical of candidates without having factual or complete information, relying just on what they dug up in a cursory Google search. Therefore, Google is a must but much deeper research is required.

  3. One must also consider the sources explored. It is rare to find information that is neutral. Most coming from media is biased to some degree. Information coming from "neutral" places may not have all the information needed to make a sound decision. One must keep in mind while researching a candidate that all the information may not be out there.


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