Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What's Your Name?

I was reminded of my own post on branding children with names as I picked up on a newer WSJ article on names and Google-ability. Apparently, parents now have to worry about how their children's potential names will pop up on search engines.

This becomes a problem for professionals too, as the story cites multiple people who have names that don't pop up quickly on Google searches, causing them to be subject to doubts from potential employers.

This got me to thinking. My real name is pretty vanilla, and I like it a lot. My last name isn't super common, but my first name is, and put together, it's not too unique. Of course, like most people, I've Googled myself to see what comes up (just in case someone else is looking for me). Because I'm still starting out in my career, it takes about 5-8 pages before I pop up. It doesn't help that there is a professional photographer with the same name who own the website I come up after lists of a champion swimmer, a track runner, an opera director and the aforementioned photographer.

I have two opinions of my Google anonymity. One is that I'm not findable by most people, unless they want to find me, and I prefer it that way. I like being difficult to track over the Internet. It's not as if I have a pile of stalkers, but it's nice to know that if I did, they'd have a tougher time finding me.

The other is that I'm annoyed that if I met someone at a networking event and they were looking to connect with me later, they probably wouldn't find me. The career impact of a good network is huge, and I don't want to be unreachable to someone who would be a great contact. When I move up from an assistant post, I think I may start doing something about that, either listing myself in a directory or something similar to boost my visibility.

WSJ article found via Little Red Suit.

3 responses:

Kevin M. Keating said...

I think Googling names is super-interesting stuff, and while I fall on the other side of the fence, doing what I can to strengthen my personal web presence, I do so carefully and with attention to safety and privacy. But my name and information is all over the web by now, so I'm concentrating more on focusing the message and pushing up the things (like my blog) that deserve more attention than others (my old Live Journal).

My name is pretty common, unfortunately, and there've been more than a few very successful "Me's" in recent history, so it's been a battle to the front page, and I am at last triumphant.

Lately, I've been using my middle initial in most stuff partially because I like it, and partially to differentiate from the pseudo-celebrity film director with whom I share my name. I own the URL with my middle initial, as well as a slew of others not at all related, and though I am fond of for its bit of cleverness, I've yet to put it to good use.

KEHutchinson said...

The middle initial is one solution to my "commonality" but in my case, I tend to avoid it. My real name is Kate (not short for anything) and I hate being called Katie. One reason I didn't change my name to my husband's is because his last name is eerily close to Couric, and being Kate Curtis would BEG people to call me Katie (as in Couric). My middle initial is E. and adding that between my first and last name presents the same problem.

I'm very fond of the cakeeating URL. you could start an improv group on that.

Tiffany said...

I was going to suggest the middle initial too. Hm. The photographer does present some challenges for you, it seems. Have you thought about using your full name on your blog? This was a giant step for me, and I've blogged about it a lot, but so far, for me, it's done nothing but help. I went from about 100 Google hits for my name, which luckily is only mine as far as I can tell, to over 9,000 in a matter of months through it.

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