I have a confession. Sometimes I google myself. It’s not ego-driven, it’s memory-driven. I know the google algorithm is better than my memory. It’s a more direct route to finding something I have written. Much easier than the multitude of places it can be hiding from me. I have to check my blog, my website, professional and personal emails, LinkedIn, Facebook, well you get the point. Even if know where it is in my files, I then have to figure out what year, which folder, what I named it. Oh-vey what a mess!
Google is getting even smarter. It found an article that I was quoted in. It’s a good thing I looked and Google reminded me. I didn’t remember the interview at all.
Wow! Published three years ago. I was bold. I was on-point. I barely remember saying those words three years later. It was an out-of-body experience. As usual, I go against the tide to give actionable advice that changes the dynamic. It is not always easy to change your behavior but it is necessary if you don’t want to be annoyed at work. This blog post on How Anxiety Shows Up at Work talks about your behaviors that may set off your co-workers without your knowledge.
The Hawthorne Effect
The more you look the more you find yourself. Isn’t that true of most things in life? The Hawthorne effect, which basically states that performance improves while it is studied, sheds some light on why the more you google yourself, the more you show up. Ok, so it’s not analogous but the idea is similar. Let’s remember our Google Search 101 – The more you google yourself, the more the algorithm searches for you, and more is found about you.
Wisdom from a New Grad
Curious about my Google Hawthorne effect theory, I asked a new college grad (BA, May 2021) to google himself. After that, when he got done laughing and asking me: People do that? He did just that. Here are his observations:
To his surprise, there are many more people with his name (which will remain anonymous by request) considering it is not a “John Smith” nor is it an obscure name. However, he has never met anyone outside of his direct family with the same name, and they are Irish, so that’s saying something.
Here’s what he discovered.
- Scrolling down, he found his LinkedIn profile on page 2 of the Google search.
- He found his Instagram on the bottom of page 1, only after manipulating his name.
- Under images, only his LinkedIn profile pic came up (well done LinkedIn).
After his research and report, I probed him with deep psychological questioning. I asked: How did this make you feel?
He said: Well I searched me and a bunch of other people with my name came up and it made me think.
I found it as a wake-up call that I haven’t left my mark yet.
I love that. Bravo recent Grad. Bravo.
What About my Permanent Record?
People of a certain ilk and generation remember the permanent record. Hell, the permanent record is a legend. Does it exist? Debunking the Myth of the Permanent Record | Study.com gives the low-down about academic records. For example, over the last few years with the explosion of social media, there is much advice given to new grads about personal vs. professional postings and showing who you are online. Recently a post on tic-tock nailed it, if I can only remember who said it. The sentiment is – where are all my permanent records, all the things I have posted, all of the pictures I painstakingly edited, cropped, thought up witty titles and posted. I want an online presence, I’m trying to make a living. I’m trying to be found. Where is that permanent record?