Building Your Personal Brand: Are You Qualified or Disqualified by Your Internet Presence?

In a social-media crazed, internet browsing society, it seems that precious little is sacred anymore. Every day, a combination of voyeurism and stagecraft can be seen cluttering our news-feed. Many things that we once kept to ourselves are now a veritable free-for-all in the mysterious vortex of the World Wide Web. And not all for the best. Even with increasing internet privacy concerns, consumers continue to put their personal lives on display for all to see. As Mineo (2017) suggests, “In the internet era, consumers seem increasingly resigned to giving up fundamental aspects of their privacy for convenience in using their phones and computers, and have grudgingly accepted that being monitored by corporations and even governments is just a fact of modern life”. Still, amidst the myriad of cat videos, political banter, memes, recipes, and personal photos, there can be seen the emergence of marketing genius. The internet, in conjunction with social media, has become a marketplace where individuals as the product come every day to advertise their personal and professional brand. There are some things that one should consider in terms of exactly what is being advertised when you, as the product, enter the global marketplace.

1.) Can You Be Found?

To see what my personal brand looked like I Googled my name and found everything but me. The search revealed everyone from an artist to an actor’s son, but not me. Now, when I added my current city to my name, I finally found a ruggedly handsome rogue that looked remarkably like me. I utilized two other sources, including Klout, and WebMii. This led to the startling revelation that I will not be going viral anytime soon. While it is better to have no presence than a negative presence, hopefully, my diminished online visibility will one day be replaced with significant civic and academic achievements.

2.) Are You a Product Worth Buying?

Is your visibility high or low? What are you advertising about yourself? Very often, the information available about an individual reflects the kind and quality of character they possess. Many employers and human resource professionals actually take the time to thoroughly research online profiles then subsequently judge an applicant’s personal brand. In one case, A reporter at the Arizona Sun was fired “for posting unprofessional and inappropriate tweets to a work-related Twitter account.” He had opened the account at the Sun’s urging and identified himself as a reporter there in his lil’ Twitter bio. He tweeted about how bad his paper’s copy editors were and got a warning. He later posted some insensitive things about area homicides and criticized a local TV news station. That led to him getting the boot (Hill, 2011). So, aside from that photo of you winning the ugly sweater contest at the office Christmas party, it would be worth your time to think about whether the product you’re putting out there can get you hired. Or fired.