Have you Googled your Own Name Lately?

One of the things that I try to find for almost every review, blog post and article I write, is to find the elusive “source.” From artists to songwriters and musicians, I want to link to whomever it is I am referring to in the most authoritative way possible. By “authoritative,” I mean that I want your “official” site, not a fansite or a MySpace page if at all possible. You’d be surprised what Google turns up.

After two weeks of actively seeking out these resources more frequently than I have in the past, I can completely understand why Wikipedia reigns as “the” resource. From professionals that don’t even have their own website to my inability to find the person’s “contact” page, I’ve been more than a bit frustrated in my quest to promote other people’s work. It’s no wonder why fansites for celebrities big and small rank (and subsequently profit) so well for their names.

My story begins with my quest to interview Danny Elfman. Our company features so many of his musical compositions, and I wanted to interview him from a songwriter’s perspective for a new feature on our company blog. Unfortunately, I quickly found out he didn’t have a blog or a website of his own. After Googling his name, I found what I expected to find: Wikipedia, IMDB, a couple of fansites and what looked like “the official” website of Danny Elfman on Sony BMG Masterworks. Unfortunately, the “official” website really doesn’t seem like one, it’s a website called Serenada Schizophrana which, according to the site, is his “first orchestral composition written specifically for the concert hall.” Reading the site further, I get quite a few mixed messages as I skim through the content. Yes, it has a bio page for Danny Elfman, but the content appears to be skewed toward the CD which was released in 2005. (Make sure you have JavaScript enabled, by the way. The text is invisible without it.) I left the site feeling more frustrated in my quest than I had begun, especially since some of the fansites were not transparent about their affiliation with this popular composer.

Google Your Own Name Today

Why do you need to Google your own name? Three, little words. Online reputation management. Google your name once. Go ahead, just do it and see what comes up. If your Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn or LiveJournal accounts rank for your name before anything else — I say Houston? You’ve got a problem.

In this day and age there may be no way to completely separate your work from your personal life, but one way you can show off your personality and your expertise is to have your own blog or have tighter rein over what appears in your social media accounts. If you’re in any form of creative art, a blog is exceptionally important because it can serve as a vehicle for people to contact you, find out more about you and your personality or get updates about upcoming projects and subsequently promote your work. If you’re not creative but are either planning on or frequently use the internet for your job, it’s a great way to show off the tools you’re experimenting with to add credibility to an interview or professional profile.

For celebs, there is no question in my mind that they should ensure their reputation is protected. Some celebs are doing this already by embracing the tools available — and doing it well. Check out Wil Wheaton’s blog for example. He updates his fans with projects, talks about his triumphs and failures and provides people with everything they need to know if they need to get a hold of him — including a convention schedule. Let’s try Heroes actress Hayden Panettiere. No go. Google tells me there’s a fansite, but there’s no information on it declaring whether or not it’s “official.” (i.e. Blessed by Hayden, herself.) There is a MySpace page, though. Good sign.

Of course, the more popular the celebrity, the more difficult it might be to have a “contact” page. Solution? Right now there’s a paid subscription service you can use through IMDB Pro. I haven’t used it yet, but I might be willing to give it a try. Another way might be to set up a contact page on their website or blog that explains what the celebrity’s policy is on contacting and promoting them, but even then I could see that getting out of control. My argument here is that although the Internet Movie Database is an amazing tool, it shouldn’t be the only solution.

Ultimately, the point I’m trying to make here is that it’s important to Google your own name because you never know why someone is trying to contact you and when. Maybe that person is researching you for a job, to promote your work, to contact you for networking or for clarification purposes on a sketchy topic.

So please, do yourself a favor and Google your own name. After you do, set up a Google Alert for your name to help manage your online reputation. You’ll be glad you did.

One Response to Have you Googled your Own Name Lately?
  1. [...] di gestione della reputazione online. Con l’incremento dell’uso dei computer e di internet gestire l... webrief.it/2008/11/reputation-management

Monica Valentinelli is an author, artist, and narrative designer who writes about magic, mystery, and mayhem. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore near you.

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