Who is the gatekeeper of you (and me)?

The power of Google is difficult to fathom. According to searchenginewatch.com, an estimated 91 million searches are done each day through Google alone (This study is nearly three years old and I figure that stat is much higher now).

I hate to make anyone feel important, but YOU could even be getting Googled. Many people are aware of the fact that employers, friends and significant others may be apart of a group which could be Googling you (And I guess the narcissists are Googling themselves, but that is a different story).

With tons of information out there, how can we control what Google has to say (or doesn’t have to say) about us?

While reading technology blogs and tips, I came across a post by Dan Schawbel, the author of of Me 2.0: Build a Successful Brand to Achieve Career Success, on Mashable.com.

Schawbel gives examples of people who once had positive Google results before they turned south. Specifically, he mentions Alex Rodriguez, Michael Phelps and Chris Brown.

Here are a few tips Schawbel gives to help you control your search results:

  • Register for blogs and social networks.

This one is probably a no-brainer for people reading blogs already.

  • Write for blogs.

Sites like Word Press make it easy to make and control content for the average user.

  • Start a wiki page under your name.

I was surprised to find Pbwiki.com has a page rank of seven on Google. Schawbel even suggests you could turn this page into a resume.

With so much information out there, I know it would be very wise for an individual (or group) to try to take control of information about themselves now before it becomes too late.

And with undeniable truth that Google or some form of online search engine will continue to be used defends the fact that maintaining information about oneself will also continue to be important.

Now while this is all fine and dandy, will I be motivated to change what pops up?

Chances are I wouldn’t bother to change it unless something negative is high in the search results. And when this happens, it would probably be too late.

Has anyone out there ever tried to control the results or anything? Or think it could be of some use to you?

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6 Responses to Who is the gatekeeper of you (and me)?

  1. sbushaw says:

    I find this very interesting.. I think that controlling my results could be somewhat beneficial. Rather ‘controlling’ it though, I’d like to refer to it as finding the best way to be represented. I personally get frustrated when I google a person and nothing juicy pops up..not to sound like a creeper..but it’s all about curiousity and the ability to learn about somebody the easist way possible. It’s like prepping for an interview..background information is necessary and helpful.

  2. cafuller says:

    Aside from simply typing my name into Google every now and then, I’ve never actually considered doing anything else. Maybe that’s because I’ve never found anything bad about myself out there, but this is definitely making me think about preventative and proactive measures I could be taking. PR is all about constantly being prepared – not just reacting when things are bad. Putting your own image-building information out there is a great idea! It’s kind of like being your own PR professional – especially for those of us graduating this May. It’s all about what people are exposed to, and if you’ve put a reputable image of yourself out there through blogging, pbwiki.com, or whatever, I bet people will be less likely to attack when something bad either comes out, or is made up, for the public to see and use against you.

  3. Nicholas Smith says:

    I think that there are actually companies that you can pay to manage y our online identity and ensure that you have a positive image for anyone looking for you. It is definitely important to be proactive about what is being said about you online. Our Online Media professor highlights this point in class quite often, and she makes a good point when she tells us that there is most likely going to be information about you online anyways, so it is better for you to try to control that information the best way you can. However, if you have a common name (like myself) I have found that it is a little more difficult to register for all of these different online programs using only your name. While that can be a little annoying, it can also be a positive because it would probably be harder for someone to find me online if I ever did something worthy of negative attention.

  4. jejepson says:

    I agree that it is important that we are aware of what is being linked with our name on the internet. As a soon to be graduate I am worried about that informaiton may be connected with me that could be detrimental to a potential job. Like Dr. Gilpin suggested, I recently have set up a Google Alert for my name and a variation of my name, I am very shocked by some of the results that are being returned. I also have recently learned that although it is important to make sure that there is not any negative information posted about you in the internet, that it is important to have an established presence.

  5. lindsaylynch says:

    I feel like controlling what google says about my name is just one more thing to do. I realize the importance of this but there are so many Lindsay Lynch’s out there, that if you google it I won’t pop up other ones will. I would rather stay off the map than be on it. If an employer looks me up they could find me on myspace, twitter and facebook. That is another discussion though because it frustrates me that people search social media as if it were an interview and that it can make an impact on being hired. This post is pretty interesting though.

  6. mjcavaleri says:

    Googling is kind of a weird phenomena….What you find might not even be how that person is in real life. It’s almost like we are using an additional filter in our realities to determine who will will be exposed to or work for.

    I think I’m not going to try to regulate or pay someone to regulate it as someone above mentioned unless false information is somehow linked to me. We must realize the power of the tools we have (blogging, social media) and be sure to use them to our advantage.

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