Do you know what comes up when you search for your name on the Internet? Is it a photo of you last night at your friend’s birthday party? Are you at a networking event for your school Alma Mater? In an evolving world of online content, the world wide web can find your name across many different social media sites. Anything that you or your friends share about you online can define your brand image.
Look at your activity across your social sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or even Snapchat. Whether you’re looking for your soulmate or your next place of employment, it’s important to know what kind of content comes up. Even a photo from ten years ago can leave a trail of cookie crumbs back to you from that one night in Las Vegas.
Are you social on social media?
In a social network like LinkedIn, connect with professionals in your field. Go ahead, post a portfolio of your most impactful projects. Comment on some industry blogs. You never know when a recruiter may call you for your next big opportunity. By joining groups that interest you, you can hear what your peers are saying about the latest product coming out or become an evangelist for your favorite brand.
However, if you don’t want to be found, be mindful of the photos or comments that you may be associated with your name. It’s called “social media” for a reason because even the news can share the good, the bad, and even the ugly across not only your network, but a network of networks. A good rule of thumb: share something you wouldn’t mind showing to your grandmother. If the content is still questionable, or you have a cool grandmother, consider the CEO of the company you work for. Just remember, a single photo can leave a lasting impression.
Share photos with your grandmother
The answer is simple, lock down your profile to only your friends – think again. Don’t complain about your boss on your twitter feed. Regardless of your privacy settings on social media, even the tabloids have a way of leaking information. Remember that while your page is your own to shape and define, sites like Facebook still own the data on the last place you checked in.
According to Seth Godin, you have to “evoke online trust“. So the next time you Google your name, take a look. By namesake, you may not be that unique, but hopefully the first photo of you is of one that someone isn’t trashing someone on the Internet.