Google: Your Online Reputation’s Opinion Leader

Posted By Mandi Lindner on Jan 23, 2013 | 0 comments


I’m currently finishing the last chapter and a half of my first e-book based on my old, soon to be incorporated, blog. The information covers the utilization of social media to make a job search successful as well as traditional job search tips like how to write a resume that will get you interviews.

The chapter I’m wrapping up is about your online reputation – how you can find out what is written about you on the Internet, how to clean up a tarnished reputation so recruiters won’t see the bad stuff, and how to deal with the bad stuff that cannot be brushed under the rug.

mean girls

Make sure Google search results aren’t your reputation’s version of Mean Girls.

In the midst of researching this chapter, I took a bit of my own advice and Googled myself.

“Mandi + Lindner”

The results? A lot of stuff I already knew about (great!) and a few things I didn’t know about (interesting).

This website is at the top of the search results followed, mostly, by my presence across various social media sites. Twitter seems to rank the highest, followed by LinkedIn, Pinterest, and a bevy of sites and networks where I publish or post professionally.

All that stuff is great.

One interesting thing I found was a link to an article I commented on two years ago regarding job interviews and, in particular, the unprofessional behavior of some interviewers. At the time I was graduating with my Master’s and in the process of interviewing with a local boutique agency. The process went well until it didn’t, mostly due to weird behavior on their part during the third interview. I made a comment on the article that both sides of the job interview table should treat the process like professional networking, because in many cities industries are kind of incestuous (for lack of better term) and no doubt you could be working with each other in the future.

I revisited the link because in the Google search results the description and title of the site weren’t incredibly flattering and I wanted to make sure there was nothing inflammatory. Even though this result was 6 pages deep, someone might still stumble across it and base their opinion of me on this one interaction.

What Am I Getting At?

There’s a term in communications theory called “opinion leader.” Basically, this term describes a person whose ideas, thoughts, and behaviors serve as a model for others. What this person thinks his or her peer group will think. When it comes to your online presence, that’s Google. The search engine utilizes a variety of algorithms to draw a picture of you, and strangers, peers, former acquaintances, potential love interests, and future employers will form an opinion about you based upon the information Google provides.

I’ll post more about how to fix your online reputation if there is less than judicious content out there about you, and I’ll also write more about personal branding and whether or not you should create a username or stick with your own. For now just consider that others are looking for you online, and it is important to know what they will find so that you can do something about it.

And the article I stumbled across? It was quite flattering and I was even pleasantly surprised to see that others had responded to my comment in a positive manner. See? You never know what you’ll find. Just Google yourself and see.

What do you think?