This is the brief second post of a two-part series on personal research & development. If you haven’t read the first post, give it a read before completing this second weekend challenge. The second part of this series focuses on your digital footprint- how to increase (or decrease) visibility, and how to take full advantage of your personal domain name.
Start with a Google search. Type your name in and see what you can find in the first few pages of results. Depending on your name, you may or may not have top search results.
My name, Johnny Schroepfer, is a good example of a pretty unique name, which results in a huge digital footprint. This can be both a good and bad thing depending on how well you “behave” online and what privacy settings you use. One thing I can promise you is that recruiters will begin to search for you- if they haven’t already started.
Increase (or Decrease) Visibility
Increasing and decreasing your digital footprint can sometimes be easy. Other times, it’s a nightmare. Remember, you’re posting personal content to the world, be smart about it. For starters, I would log in to your social networking accounts and play around with the privacy settings.
For instance, I have my Facebook settings set pretty high in terms of security, and I decided to make my Twitter account private (which may not be the right thing for everyone- decide how you want to use Twitter first). With this level of security, my Facebook page doesn’t even show up in my Google results, and my Twitter page requires that I confirm all follower requests before anyone can read any tweets.
On the other hand, you can tweak your security settings to have all your social networking sites show up in your Google results and allow people to read the content – the choice is up to you and it should align with your personal branding strategy- are you trying for high visibility, or high control over the amount of information people can read?
I briefly discussed how to purchase “yourname.com” in the first part of this series, and I wanted to touch on a few points on how you can utilize this domain name. I’ve asked several friends why they haven’t purchased their personal domain names and the recurring answer is that many of them are not familiar with- or are even intimidated by- web design.
While this is a valid point, there are other ways to utilize your personal domain names. With a personal domain name, you can link it to anything- a blog, Flickr page…even your LinkedIn profile!
Two common approaches are to link your domain name to a blog (Tumblr, WordPress, Blogger) or to your LinkedIn page. One of the major benefits of linking your personal domain to your LinkedIn profile is that it will likely be one of the top three- if not the number one- search result.
Good luck with this weekend’s personal R&D challenge!