Creative LeadershipStrategy & MarketingChristian Media

It’s Not Vanity to Google Your Name Anymore

We used to make fun of people who Googled their name, because back in those days it was driven mostly by ego. But today things have changed.  In a world where all of us live under the threat of some idiot trashing our reputation online (it’s so easy), it’s a good idea to check up on what people might be saying about you.

Richard Levick, who runs a strategic communications firm in D.C. advises his clients to “Google your name at least once a week.”  From a divorced husband who posted nude pictures of his ex-wife to disgruntled co-workers, you just never know where it might come from. One friend of mine, who’s the leader of a major non-profit had a woman write an online story about a supposed affair they had, even though she lived in a country he’d never visited and they’d never met.  After tens of thousands of dollars to get to the bottom of it, it turned out she was just crazy and had done it to others. But even though innocent, having to explain it to his wife and kids was tough.

These days you can’t be too careful.  You’ve probably heard me talking about Google being as much about “reputation management” as “search,” and it’s true.  Now, there’s no shame in searching for your name various social networks, just to see what’s out there…

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  1. I’d agree it isn’t about vanity – its about reputation.

    I think churches and high profile leaders are niaive if we think that bad things aren’t being written about us somewhere out there on the internet.

    Leaders, especially church leaders have a biblical mandate to be of good character and sometimes that can be trashed out there in the wild, wild web. There is no worse place for word of mouth to spread than in the deep dark spaces of discussion boards on the web.

    Organisations and churches can put good policies in place to prevent and protect people in the event of a bad PR disaster happening out there on the web somewhere.

    I wrote about protecting your reputation and what you can do in advance to avoid a disaster happening like what happened in this story.

  2. Interestingly, some of us google our names to make sure we are not popping up. It isn’t vanity and it isn’t reputation management – more trying to stay reasonably anonymous.

  3. After reading this posting, I determined to see what my next employer would see if they “Googled” my name. Ha! I found that one US and two European patents were finally issued in my name – 6 years after I left a company! Not everything is evil on the Internet.

  4. As a Christian in the Web 2.0 world, it is no longer enough to live an honorable life privately. If we touch the media at all, and we all do now, we must do more.

    We must live our lives in public with the same honor that we did in private. I.E. our wives, kids, and co-workers must know immediately that we didn’t have that affair. But so also must our blog readers, twitter followers, and facebook friends. Public honorable living is where it is at.

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