Ever since the dawn of the Internet, online pioneers have been trying to move as many aspects of human physical life as possible to the digital world. It started with online directories, but it got really serious with the rapid expansion of search-engine technology, rise of the giants such as Yahoo and Google, and recent social media developments.
Ultimately, it evolved to a sort of “digital renaissance” where web technologies are human-centered, allowing us to manage the online identity by ourselves.
Despite the ongoing “online humanism” and the fact that the Big Brothers of the Internet have given us free reins, the things often go wrong. Google results for a person’s name often returns an embarrassing image or video instead of a meticulously produced resume. Furthermore, it may list all your social media connections, and connections of your connections, rather than instantaneously provide a reliable result which truly stands for your online personality.
In the end, the question we are left with is “how to avoid this?”
The only way to do this correctly is to provide search engines with the personal information in the suitable (and searchable) format:
Create Your Personal Blog
The blog is your online home where you should be comfortable to express your own ideas or feelings. Write about your interests, hobbies, and passions and let this be part of your digital self. Remember to choose your domain name wisely – it would be perfect if you could get your first name, but the first name-last name combination might do the job. Also, do not shy away from alternative extensions. If a mainstream extension is not available try alternative one. For instance, .ME is as personal as it gets plus it can be geo-targeted in Webmaster tools. When you are there get your self a couple of cool email addresses.
Open an Account with Every Major Social Network
Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn etc. are chief means of online communication and despite certain shortcomings they are a ‘must have’. Take your time to write down info about you – make it short, personal, fun (if possible) and identical across multiple accounts. Do not forget that you can edit your privacy preferences on Facebook (especially for photos) as well as with Google+ and LinkedIn.
Create a Splash Page
This is a single page that describes you the best. It usually contains a large photo, short bio, and links to your online destinations (personal blogs, social networks etc.). You do not have to create this on your own – there are many services around the web that offer this functionality. For instance, try About.ME and/or Flavors.ME. Both of the services give you complete control over the data (filtering), provide analytics and may be the best aggregators of your personal content scattered around the Web.
All of this will not work if you are not having fun or are afraid of technology. Keep in mind that privacy can be controlled to a certain extent and that these tips may do wonders for your online identity.
If you are still not convinced that this can make search engines work for you, might want to take one step at the time. Maybe it is too early for a blog, but a splash page could be a good training and possibly a precursor. Also playing with social networks in a responsible manner cannot hurt. Just keep in mind that you are not taking a leap into dark, but into digital.
The .Me Registry operates the .ME domain name which is available for worldwide registration and also offers special, highly valuable premium names through its development program (see details here). .ME Registry (the d.b.a. of doMEn, d.o.o.) was chosen by the government of Montenegro to operate the new .ME domain name extension. ME Registry partners include ME-net, GoDaddy.com and Afilias Limited.