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Lessons Learned from Calculating My Online Identity Score

Online_identity_2 From Career Distinction comes a nifty little tool that will calculate your "online identity score" and help you determine how effective your online personal branding efforts have been.

When you go to the site, you're instructed to run a Google search, enter in the total number of results returned, determine how many of the results on the first three pages relate to you and then how well you think these results represent your personal brand and the calculator will give you your score. Mine, as you can see, was a 9 out of 10.

I was pleasantly surprised that it was this high and had to take a look at what got me there:

  • This blog--which is the number 2 result returned for "Michele Martin" after the Michel Martin from NPR. (Note that her name is spelled without the final "e,{ making me the number one Michele Martin--with an "e"-- on the web)
  • References from other bloggers
  • Slideshare presentations I've uploaded
  • My LinkedIn profile
  • My Building a Better Blog site

So what's interesting about this? For me, it's a few things.

First, I'm controlling my own online identity for the most part by what I'm creating and putting onto the Web. Links from other bloggers are obviously out of my control, although those links are complimentary, so I'm happy to have them. But the rest of these references are things I've put together myself, giving me ultimate control over my identity. At least right now.

What also strikes me in this is the powerful role of Web 2.0 and social media.  Every one of these references is coming from some sort of social site, not from a traditional web site, newspaper stories, etc. I have essentially become the number one Michele Martin on the Internet through the power of personal publishing and social connections.

Now, of course, all it would take would be one bad newspaper story or Digg reference and all of this goodwill would be buried in a second. I am also benefiting from the fact that apparently I'm the most active Michele Martin on the web, at least for now. But I do find this little experiment an interesting one. It says a lot about how we can control our own online destinies through the power of what we're creating and sharing. Yet another reason to start using these tools if you haven't been doing so already.

UPDATE--Reader Bruce Fulton makes an excellent point in comments that when you use the Online Identity Calculator, you're giving Career Distinction your email address and the right to email you for marketing purposes:

"Reach and the authors of Career Distinction will use your email address to email you recommendations for your online identity and periodically share news of special personal branding events and offers. "

For me, the delete key works well in dealing with this kind of thing, but if you'd prefer to not receive this kind of info at all, then you might want to think twice about using the tool. Thanks for pointing this out, Bruce. 

 

Comments

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This was interesting for a couple of reasons. My score was a 10 out of 10, which I'm not sure is totally valid, but it would not have been this high two months ago. I have been pretty intentional about building my online brand, but before the 31 day challenge and the better blog community, I did not have as many links on the front three pages. My blog is number one, but my company website has fallen as my blog gets traction. I also get a number of links from all the conferences I speak at. It's amazing how quickly the better blogging community has shown up, and it has almost replaced most of the other Christine Martell's (who seem to be college professors). Really shows how much Google rewards the blogs and web 2.0 activities.

I'm exactly the same as Christine's comments above, and scored 10 also. A fun tool! It's always good to Google yourself occassionally, if Google can't find you, can any of your readers?

Mine was 4.3. I would attribute that to the majority of my online profiles do not include my last name. I am re-thinking this. What do you think? Maybe this would be a good question for the BBB forum?

It was quite useful reading, found some interesting details about this topic. Thanks.

Danielle--I've personally come to believe that unless I'm doing something online about which I'm either ashamed or worried about legal issues, it's better to use my last name. My theory is that if Heather Armstrong (Dooce) can use her real name and not have a problem, then I'm going to do it, too. So far, I've had nothing to worry about.

I do think that it's very interesting how heavily Google weighs social networking tools, although it might be different if I google someone who's appeared in the news a lot. That won't be the case for most of us, so we do have a lot of control over our online identities.

It's worth noting that you trade your email address for marketing purposes: "Reach and the authors of Career Distinction will use your email address to email you recommendations for your online identity and periodically share news of special personal branding events and offers. "

Good point, Bruce--I'm adding an update in the body of the post. Thanks for pointing this out.

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