Your Online Presence: People Know You Online Before They Know You in Person

Almost everyone has an online persona nowadays. Even babies have an online presence (don't quite understand it myself yet…).  These personas or images can be intentionally built by oneself or they can be built by others. In today's hyper connected, internet based society, our online image is shaped by both aspects.  If you look up Cam Newton (NFL Quarterback), you will see tons of articles that are written about him. There are articles from bleacher report, ESPN, and etc. Each of these platforms shape what the public thinks about Cam. As in Cam's case, this can be controversial or uplifting. He also has his own Cam-controlled platforms on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. All of these sources show us who Cam "really" is. 

Luckily for 99 percent of us, we don't have to worry about our online persona being shaped by external sources. We have control over most of our content and can choose to share what we desire. The sad part about this is that people forget that this shared information is public to the world to view and that it shapes new colleagues, customers, and recruiters thoughts about you. In two seconds, I can find out your email, hometown, high school sports, mother's name, profession, and twitter rants. This is great for positioning your "true" self online, but can have very positive or exceptionally negative ramifications for several aspects of your life. Every person should Google themselves and see what comments, posts, and images come up. I have found images from when I was a teenager online that I never knew were posted. Several social media sites and websites are easily indexed by Google, so you show up in search results very quickly. Be aware of what is being perceived about you online.

Don't fear having an online presence! If monitored appropriately, it can provide valuable information for people that are trying to connect with you. The universe can't find you, if you are hidden. Just don't end up on Google doing a keg stand…