“Back in the day,” I used to have a pretty strong online presence as either myself or, much more frequently, as my alter ego, kaiyen. If you google “kaiyen,” you still find me mentioned here and there. That’s interesting since I have not gone by that in posts or discussion forums for probably 8 years now.
However, if you google “Allan Chen,” the first links are, in order:
- photo.net profile
- someone that’s not me
- LinkedIn profile
- my very out-of-date resume on my own website
- facebook profile
- educause profile
- SCU Law school profile (where I actually currently work…)
- plaxo profile
- other people that aren’t me
so 7 of the first 8 are me, yet none are my blog, and only one is a page I created myself. All the rest are big “social networking” sites. I’m not worried about any of them – I keep the “public” facebook profile pretty clean, for instance, and the rest are designed specifically to be simple and/or professional.
However, this speaks to a larger issue. With photo.net, for instance, one can see where I have posted and therefore what I have said. If I were to ask a question in, say, the wedding photography forum that could be traced back to a particular client, I could be liable in some way. Also, if I didn’t keep specifically the Facebook profile clean (the profile picture in particular), then that would not look very good either.
The fact that a component of Google’s search algorithm is to prioritize links based on the number of other sites of a certain relevance that link to it has some pretty serious repercussions. Something like Facebook or photo.net is going to get a lot higher ranking than my personal page (or my blog, apparently).