Today I was reading the January issue of the PARWCC Spotlight, a newsletter for resume writers, when I saw a great idea that was initially proposed for resume clients: develop a baseline count of your Google hits so you can track your Internet prominence over time.
Here’s how to do it: Do a Google search consisting of your name as you commonly use it (perhaps just first and last name), enclosed in a single set of double quote marks. If there are others with your name, add a single descriptor, such as your industry or profession, to differentiate yourself.
Then note the total count from the upper right of the screen and eyeball the first 30 entries or so to determine if most of the hits are about you.
Tweak your search if there is a better way to identify your own hits.
Either way, record the total hits for future comparisons.
If you have problems finding yourself, you may want to adjust your Internet identity, perhaps by adding a middle name or initial, or by consistently identifying your profession, college degree or something else when online. (And while you’re doing this, you may want to claim your name anywhere it is available, such as on all the social networking sites.)
Now my situation may be different from yours. There are many wonderful things about being married to Wayne. For instance, today he defrosted the freezer, totally unasked. Then he cooked and served a beautiful salmon dinner and advised me on which old software CDs I can throw out. (OK, so I’m not a romantic.)
But for now I will focus on a different, yet also delightful, attribute of Wayne’s: the unusualness of his last name.
As background, I married Wayne in 2004 and decided to adopt his last name as my own because I had retained my ex’s name upon my divorce in 1993. At the time, I stuck to my then current name (Diana Cohen Harris) to match the name of my young children and to avoid administrative hassles.
So when I married Wayne, I took his name (since it didn’t make sense to continue with my ex’s name) and skipped a middle name since my first and last names are quite enough to fit onto that short line on a check, as well as the New York Times bestseller book list (eventually).
In my case, Diana and Schneidman are sufficiently unique that there’s little competition out there except for Diana Schneidman at the New England Foundation for the Arts. (Hi, Diana, if you’re reading this.) Turns out that Diana and I have a third degree LinkedIn connection and it appears there may be no relatives in that chain.
My problem may be quite different from yours. People don’t know how to spell my name. Social media trainer Patrick O’Malley suggested that I add a paragraph to my LinkedIn profile of common misspellings of my name to help people find me. I did it and I hope it’s helping. (By the way, I am Diana, not Diane or Dianna or Dianne.)
Of course the other problem is how to pronounce my name, which I also wrote about recently.
Anyway, as of today, January 1, 2010, my count is at 2,910, aided, I’m sure, by The Other Diana and complicated by my multiple websites for my writer and freelance / consultant advising identities.
How is your count doing? Have you adapted your name for Internet purposes? Please share your comments.