Managing your digital footprint: social media vs Google
WARNING: EXPLICIT SELF PROMOTION What started as an honest post to fill in some information gaps turned into blatant image management on my part when using my own digital footprint as the guinea pig. By way of explanation it’s easier with my name as it isn’t the most common – that can be a benefit or a hindrance, you decide.
With more and more employers screening social media sites when hiring new employees, there are a proliferation of postings giving advice on managing your online reputation. Reading through them, many of focus on self censoring drunken photos or your status updates on Facebook and Twitter. On a more positive note, adding presentations to show your thought leadership and expertise to sites such as slideshare or scribd is advised. But do employers go through each social media site to check on candidates or do they do a quick Google search to see what comes up? With Google accounting for the vast majority of online searches I would suspect the latter. If you’ve ever done a Google search on yourself, you’ll know that more comes up than just your social media activity. Granted your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles will be at the top but there is so much more to consider. Here are some other things to think about peppered with a few examples of what turned up on a search on my name:
Contributions recognised Any contribution you may have made to a web site is part of your profile. Were those photos you took credited to you, did that article or letter you wrote get published on their web site?
Opinions expressed Has anyone ever asked for your opinion? If it was for a publication or news story it could appear online. That clever quote you gave as an obnoxious student could come back to haunt you.
Sporting heroes How was your time in that 10km fun run? Were there any photos of you finishing City2Surf? If you can find your times and images online, you can rest assured that Google will too.
Charitable donations In this age of transparency and online payments the likelihood is that the charities and causes you support financially will publish their benefactors. Your good deeds won’t go unnoticed.
Satisfied testimonials There’s nothing better than a satisfied customer giving feedback. If you’ve given encouraging words or have had them said about you, it’s likely that everyone else can hear about it too.
Names mentioned Wherever your name has been mentioned, if it finds its way on to the way it can turn up on your Google profile. Even the minutes of that meeting you attended or a presentation you once gave, if your name appears then its there for someone to find.
Directories listed It’s not just the phone book where you may be listed. Are you on professional lists or noted as having a special interest?
Recognition guaranteed The achievement of having your hard work recognised at an award ceremony with a win or a nomination will certainly be rewarded with a Google mention too. And if you were snapped at the gala event you’ll get double the exposure.
Press released Did your latest successes get you a mention in the company press release? Was your last career move proudly announced by your employer? If it was released to the press it can be found.
Conferences attended Some functions and events release their delegate lists for all to see. It’s not just the people you meet there, but the people who are interested in you that can follow your whereabouts.
Speaker opportunities You may have everyone hanging on your every word when you are engaged to speak. Often the event literature is available online for all to see long after your last words are spoken.
Club members Taking out a membership for an association or joining a society can mean signing up for more exposure than you first thought. The company you keep and unions you make are there for all to see.
Petitions signed or votes cast Adding the weight of your name to a list of signatories is a powerful way to bring about change. Such actions continue to influence long after the sands of time have shifted.