While you may have chosen to ignore the phenomenal success of social media opting for a low profile citing privacy as a primary concern, you may very well discover that your reputation has been more negatively affected by remaining invisible than if you had established a visible online profile. It is inevitable that your name will come to life online with or without your input. Recently I googled a client’s name and results showed, “curmudgeonly & eccentric, barely socialised, catastrophically unhygenic, frequently profane, inappropriate & blasphemous”! Of course, this was not the individual I was looking for but there were no results to the contrary. If you are not easily identifiable many will not invest the time required to look further and you may have a negative impression cast over your name despite your desire to simply protect your privacy. If the effort is made to search further only to discover that you are nowhere to be found the natural impression will be similar to omitting dates and leaving employment gaps in your resume. What are you trying to hide? A potential employer could also decide the lack of an online presence reflects a resistance to staying current.
Every day millions of people are searching online for results including the vast majority of HR and recruiting professionals looking for potential candidates and veryifying profiles. If you have a common name it will already be a challenge to modify it in order to find a variation of your name that is available to establish your online profile on many of the social media sites as many common names have already been taken. If you have a unique name it could take a little longer before your name comes to life without you but remember millions of people are creating their online profiles around the world so the sooner you claim your name and establish your brand, the better.
Social Media has provided an exceptional forum for online networking increasing opportunities for those seeking to market themselves or their products but even for those who have created their online profiles there is still much work to be done in order to establish a highly visible, unique brand in order to stay competitive and discredit impostors.
If you still feel that social media is not your cup of tea and believe that maintaining a website is more than adequate, Casey Hibbard writes an enlightening article for SocialMedia Examiner, Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle. You’ll find out why an organization with 14 million unique visitors to their site each month turned to social media to claim their name and maintain their brand.