I know that you’ve looked yourself up on Google before. Admit it…everyone has. And the results that come back can be surprising. When I look up Shawn Davis in Spokane, WA., I get a real mixed bag. Everything from a Christian Avon Lady to a dog breeder came up, with me mixed in between. Then I tried my online moniker “biggreenape” and things get a little easier. I found 6 pages and all were references to me and the posts I’ve made in various locations around the internet…except for one.
Seems as though there is a YouTube account for a biggreenape, which I did not create! Who knew that anyone else would have that name? I thought I was safe. I was secure in the knowledge that my name would be available when I finally got around to posting something to YouTube…or anywhere else for that matter. But I was wrong, terribly wrong. To think that there is another person out there posting Willy Porter videos in my name….hmmm.
The moral of this story is that protecting your online persona is now more important than ever. With new social networking sites cropping up every day, its almost a full time job trying to make sure you’ve got everything covered. Take the Governor of Idaho for example. His names was used to open a Twitter account, and then “satirical” posts were made. Now I’m all for satire, but I think you’re crossing the line when you assume someone else’s identity. Good news did come from this though, Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter is now on Twitter himself! (http://thecelebritycafe.com/features/27263.html)
It’s more than just protecting your domain name now. Have you locked down your name on Twitter? How about a Facebook account, group or page? LinkedIn? YouTube? And the list goes on. This goes for your business name as well as your personal name. Imagine if there was some confusion about what or who was posting comments.
I would suggest doing a quick Google search once a month to see how your name is fairing online. Also, I’ve found a great service that will check over 100 sites for you. Type you name in at http://namechk.com/ then start staking your claim to your name.