Google is a Girl’s Best Friend

Or is it?

Like many who are trying to maintain a strong web presence, I occasionally “google” myself.  “Joleene Naylor” used to bring up roughly two pages of results that were mostly me. I can now find a majority of relevant links through page fifteen, and some scattered after that. So, yay! I’m turning up on search engines. So?

So, fifteen pages of results. That’s a lot. And guess what? Not all of them have to do with my art or my writing, and even more interesting, some of them are from years ago. Starting on page four, you can find old forum posts I made on a Harry Potter group, some as long ago as four years, as well as some random comments I left on someone else’s MySpace,  a photo I uploaded to Wikipedia in 2007, a petition I signed,  and a paper doll contest I entered in 2005, among other things.

Why do I mention this? Because as a writer who is trying to sell not only their books, but themselves as well, this is something you need to think about.  Before you post anything to a public place, you should stop and think “Do I want my readers to see this?”  Because, as long as it’s viewable to the public, you should automatically assume that the public can see it.  And sometimes, there are things you just don’t want them to see.

Of course, I’m not advising that you should drain away your personality, or give up on groups that you love just because your readers might disagree with them, but if your internet pastimes are really that contrary to your books and audience, then maybe you should look into a pen name.  For instance, it’s going to be pretty hard to market your Christian books if you spend a lot of time on an atheist forum, or to sell your romance novels if you spent a significant amount of time bashing the genre a few years ago. And yes, what you did back in 2005 can come back to haunt you.

Long article short, before you publish under a name – whether your real name or an assumed name you’ve been using – think about what you’ve done with that name.  And, once you’ve got your name, take care of it.  As the “old” adage goes , “if you don’t want your mother to see it, then don’t write it down.” Or, in this case, “If you don’t want your readers to see it, don’t post it online.”

Try google searching for your  name.  What did you find? Did the results surprise you?

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10 Comments

  1. Bonnie

     /  September 4, 2010

    LOL bet I don’t show up at all

    Reply
  2. Bah, There is no such thing as bad publicity. My concern is if you Google Jonathan Harvey there is nothing about me. You have to Google jissilly to find my stuff. Have I let my screen name steal my identity? When I publish should I publish as jissilly and then have my name in parentheses. Shades of Plaid by jissilly (Jonathan Harvey)

    Reply
    • Yeah, I see that – it’s all some composer guy. But hey, at least it’s not another author. You might start doing things using your full name now so that you can build up some results.

      Reply
  3. I agree. And this is why I tell other writers that it is SO important to always be professional. Of course, that was a lesson that took me some time to learn. I used to do a “weekly rant” thing and it’ll always be there whether or not I’ll still feel that way about something or another. I chalk it up to just growing and learning. You can’t judge a person based on something they said or wrote 3 years ago, 5 years ago. Great advice!

    Reply
    • Yep! I have some old blog posts that are not so nice. I often think I should delete them, and might get around to it one day. Luckily the only groups i used to get wild in have all been deleted on their own.

      Reply
  4. I just googled my name and it brought up a bunch of articles about an English Judo fighter. He was in the Beijing Olympics. :O

    It seems that I have so far kept my name out of the limelight. 😀

    Reply
    • LOL! An English Judo fighter, huh? I had no idea that you did that in your spare time! 😉

      I wonder if no results are better than bad results?

      Reply
  5. I’ve actually been spending a lot of time trying to figure google out.
    I dominate the artswebshow list.
    Appear of web show list.
    But as for richard north.
    Well i have to compete with a best selling novelist, some doctor too.etc etc.
    lol.
    crazy huh?

    Reply
    • Yeah, the google results sometimes seem kind of random to me. They say they aren’t, but I have google alerts set up and I get some odd stuff through those!

      Well hey, you’re coming up through art’s web show anyway! In fat you’re the top several entries (yeah, I just googled it, too!)

      LOL! Ah! yeah, the best selling author is going to trump you! And a doctor? Nice! My initial competition was a Jolene Naylor who is a photographer (she’s really good, actually!) and some psychiatrist – again spelled Jolene. Oh, and a porn chick, but she’s kind of disappeared in the last couple of years, LOL!

      Reply

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