‘Google yourself’: How it shapes what people think of you

We've all heard the term "digital footprint". It's like the mark we leave on a sandy beach, but instead of footprints on sand, it's our actions, words, and pictures on the internet

‘Google yourself’: How it shapes what people think of you

Every time you post, like, share, or comment, you’re adding to your digital story. And just like a book, people can open it up and read about you. Have you ever wondered what story you’re telling? That’s where the simple act of “Googling” yourself comes into play. It’s more than just a curious search; it’s seeing the narrative the world reads about you.

Understanding the online mirror

Imagine for a moment that Google is a bit like a digital mirror. When you stand in front of it – or in this case, type your name into the search bar – you’re presented with a reflection. It could be a recent professional achievement or a mention in a local news article. Maybe it’s an old photo from a friend’s wedding, a comment you once made on a blog, or that review you left on a restaurant five years ago. 

This collage of digital snippets forms an image, a persona. And just like looking in a real mirror before heading out, it’s crucial to check this digital reflection to ensure it matches the version of yourself you want the world to see.

Why it matters more now

There was a time when our online activities felt like a separate world, a distinct realm where real-world consequences didn’t quite reach. Those days are gone. Today, the boundary between the digital and the physical has become almost invisible. Let’s take job hunting as an example. Hiring managers don’t just rely on CVs; they turn to Google to flesh out or verify an applicant’s story. 

Potential business partners might gauge your reliability based on your digital reputation. Even personal connections, like dates or friendships, can be swayed by online findings. 

Simply put, the impression your digital footprint makes can open doors or shut them.

Taking control of your story

It all starts with awareness. If you don’t know the chapters of your digital story, you can’t hope to edit or refine them. So, dive in. Make it a routine to look yourself up. See what new stories have been added and what old ones resurface.

Once you’ve got a grasp on your current narrative, you can start sculpting it. Platforms like LinkedIn or personal blogs offer a chance to spotlight your strengths, achievements, and aspirations. But they also require upkeep. An outdated profile might send the message that you’re not in tune with current trends or that you’ve let things slide.

Now, let’s talk about the not-so-great stuff. Every story has its twists and turns. Maybe there’s a negative review from a disgruntled client or a less-than-flattering news piece. Avoiding it won’t help; facing it head-on will. Respond to criticism with grace, offer your side of the story, and take steps to make amends if needed.

And remember, being passive isn’t the key. Proactively add to your story. Share your expertise, write articles, or engage in meaningful online conversations. Each positive piece you add helps shape the broader picture of who you are.

Wrapping it up

In a world where we’re all connected by invisible digital threads, our online stories matter more than ever. It’s not about vanity or ego. It’s about authenticity and ensuring that the narrative that unfolds with each click is true to who we are. As the boundaries between the virtual and real continue to blur, the task of curating our digital chapters becomes not just a good-to-have but a must-have.

Sabrina Stocker
Sabrina Stocker

Share via
Copy link