Author’s note: this post is based on serious opinions, but intended to be read/viewed in the spirit of satire. It also really helps if you read it to yourself in the voice of Lewis Black.
PEOPLE OF THE INTERNET. YOUR PERSONAL SPACES ARE OFFENDING ME.
No, this isn’t a commentary on man, woman or human of any kind “scaping.” It’s a short, but passionate rant about the status of your online persona.
When I say “your online persona,” I mean anyone’s online persona. Literally anyone who can be Googled. (Which these days, is pretty much EVERYONE.)
Why am I Googling you, you ask? Am I some kind of creepy stalker? No. I’m simply a moderately tech-savvy human being living in the Pre-Skynet Digital Age. And that means, whether you’re a prospective new author, CP, agent, editor, publisher of any kind, potential employer/employee, poker buddy or someone who is even considering dating a member of my extended family…I have probably already done at least a preliminary web search on you.
And guess what? I probably didn’t like what I found. Because in my experience, only about 10% of people I’ve ever met have what I would call a “clean, well-maintained” web persona (including myself.) But that’s not going to stop me from ranting about it. Oh no.
WHAT do I mean by “clean and well-maintained?”
When I Google your name, your main (static) website should be in the top 3-5 returned links. That’s just solid marketing. If I am instead faced with a whole bunch of whackadoo links connecting me to everything from your 9th Grade Facebook page to your eHarmony.com profile, I’m going to be a little amused…but also less impressed.
If I find a bunch of dead links, or barely used Tumblr / WordPress / Blogger pages, or half-a**ed GoodReads pages that aren’t even properly filled out (let alone copyedited for basic grammar and spelling) I’m going to assume you’re either: a) Lazy, b) Clueless, c) Flaky, or d) Some horrifying mix of all of the above. And that’s not awesome.
Because a CLEAN/WELL-MAINTAINED web persona, is a CURRENT and RELEVENT web persona. If you haven’t updated it in the last 6 months, DELETE IT. (And make sure to be thorough, because you don’t want those HotOrNot.com connections from when you were 17 coming back to bite you in the a**. TRUST ME.)
Finally, WHY do you CARE what I think of your online persona?
You probably don’t. But think about it this way. If I can Google you, so can the other six billion or so people in the world. And if you’re planning on existing in ANY kind of public industry at ANY point in the future (barring annihilation by heartless technological overlords, of course) you’re going to want to care what THEY think of you in an online sense.