Who Are You?
When I first started meeting with my Wednesday morning networking group nearly 3 years ago, it was perfectly acceptable to write the person’s first name when filling out a leads slip – and to use just my first name, as I was the only “Beth” in the group.
Over the last 36 months, the group’s numbers have swelled and shrunk and swelled again – now boasting nearly 40 women who meet every Wednesday at 7 am, which has resulted in a bit of overlap – of names, not business types.
We now identify as “one of the four Carols” or “one of the Beths” (there are three Elizabeths and me – I’m a Bethyl – not much overlap there!)
Because there is overlap, it’s more important than ever to differentiate from others who share my name and my occupation. When I Google myself (funny that just a few years ago that wasn’t a verb!), I find a handful of other Beth Hermes (who knew?!). One is a pro golfer who graduated from Purdue. She’s got nothing to worry about – I’m the “divot queen” on the golf course!
But what if you Googled yourself and found that the person who shares your name is – um – unsavory? Would that hurt your reputation?
I was having lunch with friends this week and this topic came up. One of my friends said he had never Googled himself, so I did it for him. He has nothing to worry about – his “alter egos” include an insurance representative in Oregon and a Public Safety administrator in Tennessee.
Another friend who is a public figure shares a name with an artist and a chiropractor – perfectly respectable.
A third individual has to do a bit of “damage control” to maintain credibility; apparently this person’s “alter ego” is a porn star!
And another person who is running for office posted her campaign website and her “alter ego” found her – and blogged about her! (Only nice things, thank goodness!)
Even if our names are unique (believe it or not, there’s another “Bethyl” Hermes – but she spells her name a little differently), people whom we’ve met at a networking meeting or who have been given our name or business card as a referral don’t necessarily know the difference – and they’re the ones who “Google” us on a regular basis.
How do you maintain a professional image when you share your name with someone else?
- Make sure your website contains current information
- Update your blog often
- Interact with others through social media – frequent posts on LinkedIn, Twitter, even Facebook
- Publish articles or columns in the local media, particularly if they have an online component
- Google yourself frequently to see where you rank
Sharing a name doesn’t have to be painful. In fact, it could be fun. Who knows – maybe I’ll reach out to Beth Hermes, pro golfer, and see if she’ll teach me how to hit the ball instead of the turf!