By David Hopper
May 21, 2012
I’m a pretty inquisitive person. When I was a toddler who just started walking and talking, I wandered around, pointing to things and asking, “ott wha?” (which obviously meant, “what’s that?”) hundreds of times a day. My parents, who either didn’t have the heart to tell me that “ott” and “wha” aren’t real words or just enjoyed stunting my speech development, would then tell me what something was.
Two things have changed since then (three if you count the potty training): I’ve learned to speak English and, instead of asking my parents what or why something is, I use Google.
Looking at my search history on Google from Monday, I see that I searched it 61 times between 8:50 am and 10:49 pm, which breaks down to more than four searches per hour. Some of it was for clients, some of it wasn’t and some of it was because I absolutely HAD to know what the band Chumbawamba has been up to lately (answer: not a whole lot).
The funny thing is, I’m really not unique in this way. When my friends want to know when a place is open, they don’t waste time looking up a phone number, dialing that number, waiting for someone to maybe answer the phone and waiting for that same person to yell in the back room to their manager to find out how late they’re open. They search for it online. And with how easy search engines are to use, my generation isn’t the only one on the ol’ Google. My dad loves searching Google with the speech recognition feature on his phone.
Even if you live in a cave, completely off the grid (which begs the question of why and how you’d be reading this) and chase all visitors and kids off by shooting fireworks at them, the odds are good that I can still learn about you by searching for you (because those kids you chased off probably made memes about you).
The point is that whether you’re attempting to have an online presence or not, you’ll probably appear in search results pretty quickly when you search for yourself or your organization, unless your first name is “Coca” and your last name is “Cola” (in which case I’m jealous) or your last name is “Kardashian” (in which case I’m sorry).
Even if you don’t have a social media account, website or blog, other websites likely have information on you. There are literally hundreds of sites that provide business reviews and background checks on people, whether you agreed to that or not.
People like to talk about “going online” as if it’s some conscious choice we make when we open up our web browser. In truth, your brand, personal and otherwise, is always online. You can sit back and hope for the best, or you can take control of your online reputation and engage your audience to meet your objectives.
My shameless and sincere plug: wherever you are or want to be in this process, the Martin Waymire team gets results, on the Internet and off it. Whether you just want insight into how the public views you or need help reaching long-term goals, we’re here to help.