The internet is a crazy place. Millions of people have billions of accounts, social networking profiles, and things that they signed up for that they can’t even remember. I am no stranger to this! I have all my social networking profiles attached to everything else, so when I blog, it goes to Twitter, Facebook, and e-mail. Within my Spotify account, I have last.fm and moodagent accounts, both of which link to Facebook and Spotify. We are no strangers to plugging in our information to every website that wants us to create an account.
However, with many accounts comes many user names, and with many user names comes confusion to others viewing your profile. You may think that because you have a more “professional” Google+ page or blog that what you write on your Twitter doesn’t matter.. wrong. You may also think that every account you have on the internet on the plethora of websites that you belong to is private.. wrong again. I have worked hard over the last couple of years to create a brand for myself, and that brand is Abbey Dufoe. Go ahead, Google me (or just click the picture). Everything that pops up in the search content is me, Abbey Dufoe. Penn State hockey player, undergraduate researcher, and social media lover. I have worked hard to make my virtual life this way. And with employers coming my way soon (eek!), this fact is super important.
I have a few tips for creating a safe place for yourself on the internet. First, you are never invisible. Check out my Google search results. My membership to Mashable is visible. Did I check some box to make that show in a Google search? Perhaps. More than likely, because my name is my brand, the little wizards at Google make it pop up from the data Mashable submits to the internet, AKA the entire list of all their users. No, this isn’t a bad aspect of my digital life that is showing, but it could be worse. Once, whilst Googling myself, I came across my cell phone number in the search results. It had been on a group in Facebook. You know, the ones where everyone asks you to give them your number cause they lost their phone and need new numbers. No page is safe, especially if using your own name for your brand.
With that being said, you should Google yourself often. You never know what is going to come up. Over the past few years, different things have come up for me on that search page. Right now, my Google+ account, Twitter, blog, ugrad research information, PSU Hockey profile, and Linkedin profiles are all showing. Has it always been like that? No. The more hits you get on certain websites, the more prominent certain pages become. Of course, my Google+ account is first because of the nature of Google, but the other sites are up there because I have had many views on many sites in the past few months. Every single Google search result up to page 7 is about me. That is fairly impressive, if I do say so myself!
Lastly, be consistent. In my case, my blog URL is abbeydufoe.wordpress.com, my Twitter name is @abbeydufoe, and my countless other profiles have the same name. If, in fact, you use a nickname (like I do, Abbey), make sure you are also being consistent with that too. If there is something important, like undergraduate research, or something of the sort, that you want to show on the internet, make sure you have your advisor/reporter/blogger write your nickname, or name of prominence. There will be no confusion that way.
I hope my tips for self-branding are helpful to you. Of course, as with any branding, you should use the same tips for your business, blog, or anything else you are trying to put out on the internet. Check your content, Google yourself, and be consistent. Try it; it has been very successful for me!