I remember the day back in 2005 quite vividly. I was working for the NBC affiliate in Phoenix as an Executive Producer. I walked in as I normally do every day and went straight to my desk. When I arrived, I saw it covered in AP wire copy. Yes! Clearly something important was upon us if my desk sit covered in printed wire copy.
I soon started to read about how I masterminded a plot to kidnap David Letterman’s son and nanny. I was under arrest and in big trouble. Right there in black and white: “Kelly Frank planned to hold the boy and his nanny for a $5 million ransom”.
My colleagues were highly amused but if you Google Kelly Frank today–that is what you will find. That…and apparently I am one hell of a professional team mascot! So much so—I teach other mascots how to shake, shimmy and do their silly string thing without getting canned.
Now clearly I am not a criminal or a professional mascot (although the latter would be pretty cool!) All kidding aside though, being aware of who you “are” out in the digital landscape is crucial. It doesn’t take much for an employer, prospective employer, friend, boyfriend, wife or colleague to find out what you left in your online wake. Luckily I am very tuned in to this. I knew what I would find when I googled myself because I do it often. I also set Google alerts to my name. I work in a high-profile field where your reputation isn’t just about you–it’s about the network you represent. I take that very seriously.
Now that I am married, I use Kelly Frank Green and I am happy to say…no celebrity stalking or mascot twerking to speak of. Googling Kelly Frank Green yielded exactly what I thought: my social media library. Here’s a brief slide show:
Aside from my social media footprint, there is the expected search services and directories to find “Kelly Frank Green”. I also looked through the search results that came up under News, Shopping, Video and Images. Video revealed my vine account and a “day in the life” video shoot at CNN. It was for an event for my alma mater:
The Images search results were a mix of pictures I took, posted or pinned along with some that have nothing to do with me:
Googling my email address produced similar results. The findings only extended about three-quarters of the page whereas my name went into a second page of results. This surprised me a little in that I use this Gmail account for many things. Clearly it is very public if I have it on this blog and it is associated with all my social media.
I also looked at the News, Images, Shopping and Videos for these findings as well. No news on News is good news! There was nothing under Shopping or Videos. The Images results were similar to those under my name. Interestingly enough, classmate Angela Cook came up “below the fold as you can see below. We are friends on Google+ and that seems to bump up her ranking! (Oh Google…you do like yourself!)
Googling yourself is a good practice to keep every month or so. It doesn’t matter what you do for a living, reputation management is something we should all take seriously. So stalk yourself now and then. Check profiles from the “public” point of view. Check in on what various groups see or what lists you are on. It’s important…you never know when you will find you are a twerking, silly string-slinging mascot or worse…a celebrity-stalking convicted felon.
The experience above is chronicled for my Web Research Methods class for the University of Florida Masters Degree program specializing in Social Media. As always…this exercise is purely academic.