Google Me: Reputation Management Tool Proves Google Is Not Evil

Google is not evil. At least that’s what they tell us. And, their latest product release would support that assumption.

Today, Google announced “Me On The Web”, a new service designed to help users better understand how their online, indexed identity is constructed and give them the tools to help maintain it themselves.

As Read Write Web so aptly put it:

“What so many Internet users don’t understand, says Google, is that it doesn’t control the Web or the websites on it. Those are outside Google’s control. Instead, it has tools that crawl the Web and rank the pages it finds, so that when you search for topics, the most relevant items appear at the top of the list. That may seem like common knowledge, but it’s not. The Web is still a mysterious place to many of its users, especially when it comes to the details of Google’s role in the spread of information.

In addition, the challenges of how you should behave online, what items should be published publicly, and what you should do about unwanted, personal or damaging content are complex. The negative effects of “bad” online behavior aren’t often realized until it’s too late. And, as the famous line from the Facebook movie “The Social Network” reminded us, “the Internet isn’t written in pencil…it’s written in ink.” “

What Google’s trying to do with “Me On The Web” is give users a one-stop shop to see everything written about them on the web, as well as the white-out they need to remove the stuff they don’t like. Or at least, hide it from Google’s search results.

I think it’s a great idea, and a well thought out step in the right direction in terms of easing people’s fears about the uncontrollable nature of personal information on the web. And, it does help prove that Google’s not evil…at least for now.

Personally, I’m happy to have these tools and thrilled to start playing with them. But just because Google is now giving me white-out doesn’t mean I’m apt to forget that ink is still pretty permanent. And, as anyone who watches as many crime dramas as I do knows, white-out definitely doesn’t have to be.

Disclaimer: Anyone who knows me knows I’m a total Google groupie. If Google is the Empire, I should probably start getting fitted for my storm trooper outfit now. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t still be wary of any organization with that much power and server space. . .

Relay For Life Santa Monica Is Right Around The Corner!

We had a fantastic Relay For Life meeting last night, and we are all geared up to have a great RFL Santa Monica on July 16. The passion of our volunteers is awe inspiring, and I am confident we’re going to raise a lot of money to support the great work of the American Cancer Society, and have a great time during the event too!

You’ve probably heard that the 405 is going to be closed that weekend, and I know some people are worried about the impact that’s going to have on Relay. But, as the always-inspirational Nat Trives said at our meeting, this is actually a great opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade. With the 405 closed, everyone who lives on the westside will be stuck in the area anyway, and we’re excited to invite all of those people to come on down and spend the weekend having a lot of fun for a great cause at Relay For Life.

There will be food, entertainment and activities for the whole family, with plenty of opportunities to donate during the event, whether you’re walking or not. So, please pass the word on to your friends, family members and fellow Angelenos — Relay For Life Santa Monica is on, and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone there!

It’s also not too late to sign up for a team. Last night, we decided to waive the team sign-up fee. So, signing up is now easier (and freer) than ever. And, since you’ll be stuck on the westside anyway, you might as well plan to join us for all sorts of fun activities throughout the night and sleep over under the Santa Monica stars on the SMC track. I personally promise it will be about a million times more fun than fighting with LA gridlock, and instead of wasting money on gas, you could be helping us raise money to support the American Cancer Society. If you’re a team that hasn’t done the full 24 hours of Relay before, this is a great opportunity to see what you’ve been missing — as much fun as Relay is during the day, it’s just as much fun, if not more so, at night.

With that said, below you’ll find a recap of the major issues from last night’s meeting. I know it’s long, but please take the time to read the sections pertaining to you, since there’s a lot of good info in there.

As always, you can find more info on our website: You can also ‘like’ us on Facebook orfollow us on Twitter for more updates.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please email me at

Mollie Vandor

Event Chair, Relay For Life Santa Monica

July 16-17 (9am-9pm) at the Santa Monica City College Track

6/7/11 Meeting Recap:

Registration: If you are planning to walk, or register a team, now is the time to do it. We’ve waived the team registration fee, and are excited to have teams of all shapes and sizes sign up.

I know some people have hit a few technical difficulties registering on the website, and we appreciate your patience as we work through those. If you have any problems, please contact Robert Harrison at, and he’ll help you fix them ASAP. Let’s not let a few technical difficulties get in the way of doing great work for this great cause! And by the way, if you don’t have a team, but want to walk anyway, email me and we can get you set up to participate with one of our fantastic teams.

Sponsorships: I’ve attached a sponsorship form to this email. If you or someone you know wants to sponsor Relay financially, or donate goods or services to the event, please use the attached form and email it to myself at You can also put any potential sponsors you know of in contact with me directly, and I will coordinate with them. Sponsors are eligible for prime placement on our t-shirt, in our programs, and throughout our event, which is expected to attract hundreds of active, engaged members of the community. All sponsorship and donations are tax deductible.

Food: We have some food vendors committed, but are actively seeking more food and drink donations, as well as help with distribution and storage during the event. If you have any food contacts, or you’re interested in helping me reach out to a few of our existing contacts, please contact me ASAP. I am serving as our de facto Food Chair as well, and it’s a big job, so any help from any of you would be greatly appreciated.

Team Captains: We’ve got 12 teams lined up now, and have already raised over $5,000! A big shoutout to those of you who have started serious fundraising activities already, especially our top team Team Edmund. There’s a lot of info in the attached file to help you keep up the great fundraising work, and I’m so excited to see how our numbers grow going forward.

A few notes for our team captains:

-We are not going to do the campsite selection in advance this year. But, if you’ve done Relay before and have a preference, please email me and let me know and we’ll do our best to accommodate you. We are also working on getting approval so you can get your campsites set up on Friday before Relay, which would allow you to get everything loaded onto the track before the 405 closes. I’ll keep everyone posted on that front as I learn more.

-We’re also excited to bring back the old tradition of decorating your campsite, and we’ll be voting on the best decorated site. We’ll be staring at these sites for 24 hours straight, so feel free to go all out and make your campsite crazy, themed and as much fun as possible! And by the way, we’ll love you even more if you show up in a matching costume. 🙂

-This year, we are bringing back the team activity. So, we’d like every team to come ready to lead a fun, engaging activity. If that activity also serves as an on-site fundraiser, that’s even better! Your activity can be something that takes place at your campsite, like a sale of some sort or a crafting activity, or it can be something you lead us all in during the day — a sporting event, a song, a dance class, whatever feels comfortable for you. So we can schedule everything accordingly, please email me no later than June 22, 2011 with your planned activity. I don’t need a ton of detail, just the general outline of what you want to do and any info on whether it’s time sensitive, needs a certain amount of space, etc.

Please also keep in mind that we’ll be on the track, and must respect the rules of the space and the limitations in power outlets, etc. that it brings. I’m happy to work with you to make the best of those limitations, so please reach out to me if you need any help with that.

-Speaking of rules, we do have to follow some pretty specific rules to use the SMC track.I know we’d all rather focus on having a fun, successful event than policing each other, so please come ready to respect the following rules:

(1) The field we’re on is artificial turf, which means no food or drink (except water) is allowed on the field at ANY TIME. We will have people monitoring your campsites, and making sure this rule is followed, so please come prepared. You are encouraged to bring food and drinks to keep you going during the event, but please place it in a bag or other cooler, and label it well. We will store it for you off the field, and you can enjoy it in our dining area, which we have moved a lot closer to the track this year for easier access.

(2) No pets! Animals are not permitted on the field. No exceptions. Please don’t make us kick your adorable little puppy out. That won’t be fun for anyone.

(3) If you bring children, you must plan to supervise them. Relay policy is that youth teams must have one chaperone (25 or older) for every 5 children under 18. We want Relay to be a fun, family event, and we expect kids to have a fantastic time, but they must be respectful of the event’s other participants, and must be under adult supervision at all times.

(4) Remember that since we’re on artificial turf, you can’t stake your tent. So, be prepared to weigh them down with water barrels, sand bags, free weights, etc. Nothing can puncture the track, which also goes for tables, chairs, flags, decorations, etc. We will provide cardboard and plywood to place your tents on, as well as assistance getting you set up, but please be prepared to set up your tent sans stakes.

(5) I’ve also attached a sheet detailing the things you should bring to Relay. We’re doing our best to get donations and provide supplies to our relayers, but we also want to try to raise as much money for ACS as possible, so the more you can provide for yourself, the more we can focus on fundraising. However, since we’re raising money for ACS, bringing drugs, alcohol and the like would probably be in bad taste, so please refrain from bringing any supplies of that nature.

-Rules and regulations aside, this is your event, and this planning stage is all about making it fun and inspiring for you! So, if you’ve got an activity you want to see, a suggestion for food, or any other ideas, concerns, comments, etc., please let me know. I want this to be the most exciting, engaging Relay yet, and as much as it’s a fundraiser, it also needs to be fun. So, please let me know what I can do to help make it a great, easy time for you and your team!

Kids Corner: The fantastic Ana Jara is manning our Kids Corner again this year, and is currently putting together some great activities to make this a fun event for the whole family. If you’re interested in getting involved in the Kids Corner, please contact me and I’ll put you in touch with her.

Logistics: Shelby Hunt has graciously volunteered to head up our logistics committee, helping us coordinate volunteers and put all the pieces together for an amazing event. If you’re interested in helping her, please get in touch with me and I’ll get you in touch with her. If you’re interested in volunteering in general, and helping us out by staffing the event, please also get in touch with me.

Entertainment/Speakers: Keith Inouye is back as our amazing entertainment chair, and is being joined by longtime Relay supporter Dianne Jobson. Between the two of them, we’ve got a fantastic team, and I’m excited about the entertainment they’re lining up. We should have a schedule nailed down within the next week or so, but are still looking for event emcees, performers, speakers and a karaoke machine. Please get in touch with me if you’ve got access to any of the aforementioned, or if you have other entertainment ideas you’d like us to explore.

Luminaria: Ana Jara is putting together our Luminaria again this year as well. She’s a wonderful resource to us, and as those of you who participated last year know, her participation pretty much guarantees a great, very meaningful ceremony. Please try to get your Luminaria sign-ups done as soon as you can, so she can start gathering her supplies, and getting everything prepared for this very important part of Relay.

Survivors: Are you or someone you know a cancer survivor? Join us as we celebrate you with our Survivor lap, and Survivor breakfast on July 16. Have an inspiring story? Let me know if you’re interested in sharing it during the event — we’d love to have you speak.

Next Up: We have another meeting scheduled for June 28, 2011. We also might try to squeeze one more meeting in between now and then, so I’ll keep everyone posted on that. From now until Relay, we’ll be meeting at the Santa Monica Police Headquarters on Olympic, and I will keep sending out reminders as those dates get closer. In the meantime, please keep getting the word out to potential teams, sponsors, donors and attendees!!

Relay For Life Santa Monica: The Official Press Release

Please share this with any friends, family, colleagues, etc. who might be interested. Thanks for helping me get the word out!

Relay For Life Returns To Raise Money For American Cancer Society In Santa Monica

For 24 hours in July, the Santa Monica College track will be more than just a football field. It will be a crucial battlefield in the fight against cancer, thanks to the return of Relay For Life Santa Monica.

Starting at 9am on July 16, Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society’s signature fundraising activity. During the event, teams of people camp out and take turns walking or running around a track for 24 hours straight, signifying the fact that cancer doesn’t rest, and neither will the devoted individuals dedicating their lives to fighting it. The 2011 Santa Monica Relay will also feature entertainment, food and drink, activities for kids and families and various ceremonies honoring loved ones lost to cancer and celebrating local survivors, caregivers and medical professionals.

This year’s Relay efforts are being led by Event Chair Mollie Vandor and American Cancer Society Relay Manager Robert Harrison. Vandor, who has captained teams in previous Relay events, is a first-time Relay For Life Event Chair who signed on to run Relay just a month ago. Despite the time crunch, she said she’s excited to be a part of the event.

“This year’s Relay is already shaping up to be a great fundraiser and a lot of fun too,” Vandor said. “Everyone has been touched by cancer in some way. I got involved because I lost a good friend to cancer as a child, and that was just the beginning of my experiences losing loved ones to this terrible disease. Unfortunately, there’s not a single person out there who can’t relate to that loss in some way. I know it’s short notice, but the American Cancer Society does such great work supporting patients, caregivers and researchers. This is our chance to support them, and I’m so excited to see the community rally around that.”

Last year, Relay For Life Santa Monica raised over $80,000 for the American Cancer Society. Eleven teams are already signed up to participate in this year’s event, which has already raised over $4,000. Vandor said she hopes to see more teams sign up in the next few weeks.

“There’s going to be delicious food, great music and entertainment, inspiring speakers and all sorts of fun stuff for the kids,” Vandor said. “The 405 is shut down that weekend anyway, so you might as well stay local, and come spend the weekend having a great time and supporting a great cause.”

Vandor said the event’s organizing committee is also currently on the lookout for sponsorships, donations of goods, merchandise and activities for the event, and volunteers to help out before, during and after Relay. All donations are tax deductible. If you’re interested in volunteering or donating, email Mollie Vandor at

For more information, go to the Relay For Life Santa Monica website.

The Internet Is A Basic Human Right?

Courtesy of the always-awesome All Things D, I give you  ‘The Internet Is A Basic Human Right?’: