I’m tired of googling people and not finding anything except an inactive Twitter account and a private Instagram feed. Let me say this straight up, guys:
The Internet is not a separate world from Real Life, it is an extension of the same reality, the same life and world you inhabit ‘offline’.
Offline. What does that mean, anyway? Unless you’re in a Mennonite village (full disclosure: I’ve never been to one) without electricity, the world you live in is never offline. Every time you ‘unplug’, you’re still plugged in because the world you live in is plugged in.
If I Google you and find nothing, I take that as a not-so-great sign. If I Google you and find inactive accounts or stupid shit, then I think you’re an idiot without regard for how the world sees you.
Now, I’ll be the first one to tell you not to give a shit about what people think. But I say that in a particular context: don’t let the fear of what people will think stop you from being who you are or doing what you want to do. However, to successfully function and further yourself in this life, you do have to pay attention to how people perceive you. This means ONLINE as well.
It’s not enough to make your Facebook profile ultra-private, your Instagram feed private, and your Twitter feed private. You just gave up any say in what people think about you online, which is just as bad as them seeing stupid shit about you, maybe worse. Most of us can be Googled. A picture, a name in a community newsletter, an award you got, a loss your team suffered, etc. All of that informs the people who look you up on what kind of a person you are.
Go on, Google your first and last name. Check out the first two pages of results and check out the images result. I guarantee you’ll find something connected to you. Is this what you want people to see? Does this positively impact people’s opinion of you? Or does it negatively impact it? Or worse, does it do nothing?
We wear clothes to reflect something, we speak in certain ways to come across as something, we study certain things to be able to do particular things, but we don’t give a rat’s ass about our online perception/Google results?
That’s just dumb.
Do you really want Google to decide what people’s first online impression of you is?
When you Google someone and you come across their own website, what’s your first reaction? Mine is: ‘damn, they have their own website!’ I’m impressed and intrigued. Once I’ve clicked over to their website, I’m shown what they want to show me. If they want to show me their twitter feed, they do, if they want to show me this awesome resume of theirs, they do. And that’s what I look at. That forms my perception of this person, which they shaped, instead of Google shaping it for them.
Having your own website doesn’t have to be a high pressure, nerve-racking ordeal. The average person can set up a simple website and just update it once a year to reflect some changes and a new photo. It’s not a big deal to do, but it has a profound effect on people’s perception of you online.
You know what having your own website says? It means you’ve got your shit together.
Whether that’s true or not, that’s how it comes across. And I know that’s how you want to come across. Most of us do not like to be public hot messes (this is great coming from me, when my blog is a public record of my hot mess haha).
So do yourself a huge favour, and pony up less than $0.40 a day to get yourself a website. (Post coming next week on how to get your shit together and get a damn website up)