Boy-Magnifying-Glass-225x300We spend an awful lot of time obsessing over our brand’s online presence; from how they’re perceived to how they’re interacting with consumers. But do we consider ourselves with the same rigor? Well, our Truth about Privacy study found that 17% google themselves once a month, which rises to a massive 35% in India. I can’t say that I take after my namesake so thought I would do a bit of investigative work…on myself.

In fact, this blog post was born after an acquaintance of mine announced she would be writing the book she has been commissioned to write with a nom de plume. The reason being that she wanted to separate her well-lauded charity work from her equally thriving career in the arts world. But surely, I argued, it just makes her a well-rounded (albeit irritatingly successful) person that anybody in my industry would be falling over themselves to replicate. But no, she insisted “I don’t want anyone googling me and seeing this mix of projects associated with my name, I want to be able to manage who sees what”.

Which brings me back to our starting point, how is your brand looking? The concept of managing your personal brand is clearly on the rise. What’s more looking at the strategies people employ to navigate this is fascinating. I googled myself (obviously for research purposes) and absolute drivel comes up! Sites dedicated to dredging up every goddam site I signed up to during my teenage years are having a major influence on defining my online brand. Help! I need a strategy, and quick.

My own ego aside, it does pose significant questions about how we attempt to manage our own data and information that is accessible to others. Increasingly companies are now looking at a candidate’s online presence and/or influence over traditional means of recruitment. If such importance is placed on our virtual storefront, what does it say about the type of people who are succeeding in this environment? Are those who are willing to share the most and (virtually) shout the loudest seen as the best candidates: in short, are extroverts more likely to succeed?

On the flip side of this, Susan Cain discussed the ‘Power of Introverts’ in her excellent talk and I have to agree with her that neglecting such a trait is to society’s detriment. Going back to our Truth about Privacy study, we found that 19% of the global population (36% in the US) to be Walled Worriers: people who don’t like to share and try to protect their privacy amongst this culture of self-broadcasting. That’s a significant group of people who are potentially looked over because they do not want to cultivate an online brand for themselves.

The approach you take is obviously a highly personal choice, one that I think we’re all experimenting with in lieu of not actually knowing the best tactics to employ. We’re learning as we go, and that is the fun part. But if anyone knows how to delete those profiles from 2001, please let me know!