Loic Le Meur posts some tips about managing your online identity. I’ve had a pretty decent web footprint since I’ve been authoring web pages for my pursuits as far back as doing Reality Break pages in 1994 or 1995. I heard tell of a party game where writers were googling their own names (NOT in quotes, as separate words) in a SF con suite and seeing how few listings you could go down before it was really about the writer in question. In my case, last time I checked you have to go down 29 or so to find one that isn’t about me. It helps that my name is not a common one – this game is definitely not too fun if you happen to be named John Smith. I’m a small fish, I’m sure some of the real biggies could go thousands down and all still be them.
I do think Loic’s advice is sensible. People will google your name so you ought to get a sense of what happens when someone does. When I go to job interviews, I search on the names of people I’ll be talking to. If they have writings, I read up on them first. It’s worked very well for me and I’m amazed more folks don’t do this. I had a friend recently who discovered that searching on his company name gave his resume as one of the top ten google hits. That’s definitely a good news/bad news type situation. Isn’t it good to know about that first, rather than finding out when the boss calls you into the corner office?