Dr. Web Presence
Recently, one of our clients had a Web Presence issue. The issue wasn’t with their company’s website, rather with the CEO’s name. Let’s call him Fred Fakename. When Freddy did a Google Search for “Fred Fakename”, he couldn’t find himself. Even worse, the top result didn’t point to Fred. It pointed to a Dentist in Canada, Dr. Fred Fakename. Fred had no control over his Web Presence.
Fred’s dilemma made me think about how many other people out there are like Fred. Am I like Fred? I’ve spent very little time social networking, but I’ve written a couple of blogs, and I’m the only John Dilthey I have ever met. It was now time to see where I stand.
After doing a quick Google Search, this is how the Web really sees “John Dilthey”…
Search Result #1- Friendster
The first result to show up is a Friendster account I created back in 2003. My roommate at the time begged me to sign up for this service. He had a great eye for emerging trends. I haven’t used Friendship, or any other social networking site, except to run a quick background check on employee applicants. The lack of Friendster information doesn’t bother me, but what came next showed me that I needed to take control of my Web Presence.
Search Result #2 – 123people.com
The second Google Search result was for a website called 123people.com. This site knows way too much about me. It has pictures of me, six death certificates, five birth certificates, my home phone number, several of my past addresses, the names of my family members, and links to my Criminal, Census, Immigration and Veteran records. all free for 7 days. On top of the total lack of privacy, I also show up in their Philosophy Libraries between ‘Dewey, John” and ‘Dilthey, Wilhelm”. I think I got a C in Philosophy 101, so it’s no surprise that I have no idea who “Wilhelm Dilthey” is.
Changing My Web Presence
Clearly I have a “Web Presence“, but it’s not a good Web Presence, and I certainly have no control over it.
So I decided to take control, but what can I do. Time for some simple goal-setting.
1. Control the Message
I can’t control the Internet. Everything I do from the Poem I wrote in 1992 for the School News Paper to this Blog article is available on the Internet, and will be forever. And ever. And EVER! Despite your personal “Philosophy” (see what I did there? Old Wilhelm would be so proud), the Internet is no longer a place where you are anonymous. I can’t stop the flow of information. What I can do is Control the Message. If you don’t want a future prospect to know that you got drunk in Las Vegas, don’t post a video of it on YouTube and link to it on Facebook. I can see it, which means everyone can see it.
2. Own the First Page
For this point, I needed a Role Model. Do a quick Google, Bing, and Yahoo Search of “Jim Lippie CEO Thrive Networks”. Now compare his results to your name. Jim owns the First Page. Do you own the first page of your search results? When I ran my first search, I only showed up in the Top 10 twice, at #1 and #3. Less than 24 hours later, I have #1-#4, #7, and #9.
3. Use the Best Ingredients
Let’s be clear about something, Facebook is a fad. Just like Friendster, Classmates, and MySpace were Fads. The trend is called Social Networking and I need to use the best Social Networking sites available. With just one hour, I created a LinkedIn, MySpace, Flicker, and Twitter Accounts. On top of that I updated my Facebook, Friendster, and Classmates accounts. Now I just need to find a few more to round out the top 10. I’m thinking of adding Google Buzz, Yelp, Orkut, and Bebo.
So my fellow Fred Fakenames, it’s time to take control of YOUR Web Presence. Your name is your Brand and it’s time to face the truth. Every time you interview for a job, someone runs a LinkedIn Search. Every time you make a sales pitch, someone runs a Facebook Search. Every time you apply to join the Condo Board, someone runs a Google Search. Show the world what you want them to see and make sure you are “Puttin’ on the Ritz”.