They never forget.
I just read a post by Seth Godin called Personal Branding in the Age of Google. He laid out an experience a friend of his had, after posting an ad on craigslist for a housekeeper. The friend received three responses, and Googled each of their names. Turns out her three candidates were a drunk, a thief, and lastly, one that planned to quit the “menial job that is below me, and I’m annoyed by it” as soon as she “sold a few paintings.” Sources for this eye-opening information included a Myspace profile, a police record and a personal blog. Ouch.
MY PERSONAL BRANDING NIGHTMARE
Seth’s post reminded me of my own Personal Branding nightmare. I think at one time or another we have all Googled our own name. You know, to find out what Google’s got on you.
So I searched… Michael Bungartz… and there I was on the first page:
– “Michael Bungartz is accused of using profanity, threatening an officer with loss of his job and insulting the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department…”
– “Michael Bungartz… disorderly conduct…”
– “…arrested for disorderly conduct after a domestic dispute.”
There’s even a YouTube video clip from a regionally televised news station, breaking the story. Yikes!
IT WASN’T ME! I’M INNOCENT
The problem is that… I’M INNOCENT! See my name is Michael J Bungartz, obviously, and I am originally from Wisconsin. Well so is Michael J Bungartz, Chief of Bloomer Police who is also from Wisconsin.
This guy is totally killing my rep! I’ve gone from entrepreneur and all around good guy, to a profanity spouting-abusive-disorderly-jackass (sorry Mr. Bungartz from Bloomer, but it’s true).
PROTECT YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
Luckily I’ve been blogging for a while now, and have a couple of other plugs out there and this imposter is continually getting pushed down the list of Google’s search results. Although there was nothing with in my power to have stopped this from happening, it does bring up a valid point. Your Personal Brand or Image is a delicate thing. Screw up and the world can, and will find out (literally the world). No more hiding.
Lesson Learned: Protect your personal brand at all costs. The world, or more appropriately “Google”, is watching, listening and won’t be forgetting any time soon. As Google puts it… “Don’t be evil.”