I Google people all the time. I guess part of being a reporter/curious person is cyber-stalking people. Never know what you need to know about someone until you know it, right?

The key is: I NEVER TELL the person I Googled them.

Because that would just be weird, right? YES, YES, IT IS! I was talking with a new/unfamiliar source for the newspaper a few weeks ago when, suddenly, in the lull in the conversation, he said: "I see you're quite the little writer." I had no idea what that meant, so I made some non-committal sound in case he was going to start criticizing me about something. As embarrassing as misunderstood sarcasm is, the moment I realized he had found my blog, read it, AND WAS NOW TEASING ME ABOUT IT left me speechless.

No worries. He was willing to fill the dead air space. "I have to tell you, I will not be buying a boobie beanie." And then he asked if I was vegetarian! (Apparently not understanding that my post about "vegetarian hamburgers" was really about brownies and cupcakes.)


The conversation ended okay, the article was okay, and I've talked with this source again without incident. And I've been almost obsessively Googling myself ever since then.

The results aren't that disastrous. I've resisted the urge to post anything on this blog that I wouldn't want a future employer to read (with the understanding that this is a light-hearted personal blog, of course, and not some sort of online portfolio. Rest assured, I do not consider this some of my better writing.) I'll admit there's been the occasional Facebook status update that could be misconstrued if you don't know me or my sense of humor, but those fade away into Cyber Nowhere Land (from what I can tell). No embarrassing or inappropriate pictures.

But I honestly could polish my online image a bit. My Twitter profile could be a little more professional. LinkedIn is one of the first things that pops up; that's pretty innocuous. Then Brazen Careerist, which I'll admit I'm only lukewarm about as a concept. I should probably either cancel my account or beef up my profile there. It's meant to be a career advice/networking site for 20-somethings, but too often I find it bogged down by the worries of 20-somethings who don't have any firm knowledge or experience upon which to base their advice. Unless they are looking to network laterally or in a new field, most 20-somethings are probably better off trying to network with older, more experienced people, right? I don't know. But I should probably decide soon and respond accordingly.

Then there's Blog to Lose, a networking site for bloggers who are trying to lose weight. My profile is set to private there, so that's also innocuous. What woman hasn't tried to lose weight at one point or another?

The rest is just stuff that comes with being a reporter: a few mentions from local political bloggers (not all favorable, but as I said, it comes with being a reporter) and old articles (including this gem on a pet cemetery and this contributing line I got while interning at USA Today).

How conscious are you of your "online image" and Google search results?
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