Home > Microblogging, Social networks, Web Communication > William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson: Beware that people are googling you

William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson: Beware that people are googling you

William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson, personal branding consultants, point out:

People are googling you. People who matter—colleagues, employees, managers, clients, hiring managers and executive recruiters—are making judgments about you based on what they find online.

Consider the following statistics:

  • 23 percent of people search the names of business associates or colleagues on the Internet before meeting them, according to a 2004 Harris Interactive poll.
  • 83 percent of recruiters use search engines to learn about candidates, according to a 2007 ExecuNet survey
  • 43 percent of recruiters have eliminated candidates based on information they found online, up 17 percent from a similar 2005 ExecuNet study.

That’s right, while different kinds of social networks and microblogging constantly develop, new problems pop up in the online world which directly affect the real one. And one of them is the mentioned digital identity. Negative messages have become the main fighting line for agencies and communication departments. These affect to the personal and corporative branding, damaging significantly the affected person or brand. The Report on Online Reputation (2010) claims that negative messages, hoaxes and defamations online can cause several effects on the affected:

• Erosion in their reputation
• Attack to their confidence, credibility, seriousness and quality.
• They favour to their competition
• Loss of influence
• They can provoke social disintegration
• Etc

More experts increasingly agree in this worrying topic. “We know that this data for all practical purposes never goes away,” says Mark F. Foley, a partner at Chicago-based Foley & Lardner who advises corporations on data privacy and security issues. “If you upload a 90-second video [of yourself] on the Pensacola beach, there’s a good chance that could be found and used against you someday.”

Nevertheless, it can be challenging to get high-ranking results for a search on your name or to remove inaccurate information from websites, that is why the mentioned Kirsten Dixson and William Arruda give some advice on that: ‘You can take a variety of measures, including starting a blog, actively engaging in online discussions appropriate to your profession, and joining social networking sites like LinkedIn. That will boost your online profile and improve your standings in search engines. Like anything worth doing, these activities require a consistent investment of time, but they’re enjoyable and great ways to network.

As mentioned above, as well as digital identity, another key term in present days, personal branding, can be also put in jeopardy. ‘El método de creación de marca personal toma elementos de la psicología, el marketing, la gestión de empresas, la comunicación y la filosofía’ states Andrés Pérez Ortega, personal branding consultant (Marcapropia.net) and author of Marca personal (2008) and Expertología: La ciencia de convertirse en un profesional de referencia (2011). Desarrollar una Marca Personal consiste en identificar y comunicar las características que nos hacen sobresalir, ser relevantes, diferentes y visibles en un entorno homogéneo, competitivo y cambiante’ he further comments.

However, there is a thin line between personal branding and damaging the brand by not conveying the appropriate message. As the Phoenix Branding Examiner Kathy Bass claims,

‘Visibility is important in personal branding, but credibility is even more important. Collateral represents your brand, and if it is not professional, how can you be perceived as a professional business? If you aren’t serious about your business and able to communicate your message with credibility, how can others be expected to take you seriously? You will be committing brand damage, not branding’.

So, whichever social network we use, we should pay scrutinizing attention on the impression we cause  (however it may be digital identity, personal branding, etc) because as it has been proved, nowadays enterprises check their workers via online before hiring them. And even personal branding can be affected by not giving the right impression. That is why looking after the appearance should be crucial.



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