Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Where are You on the Web?

I wasn’t planning to post tonight because I thought I’d go relax in front of the tube once I got a good amount of editing completed.  However, before my shows saved on the DVR could tempt me from my office, I had to check out what our task was for the Platform Challenge today.

Yesterday was Day 9 and I’ll admit I flunked that task.  We were asked to respond to at least three tweets from other tweeps on Twitter.  For now I have opted out of the Twitter task which, I guess, makes me a twerp.
But I’m glad to say I did not flunk today’s task. 

Today we were asked to do a little research on the web…on ourselves.
This was a task I could not resist.  I love research and I enjoy searching for people.  I’ve done this before, just to see how people were finding me and my investigative agency but I hadn’t yet run a search on myself since I started my blog or my alter-ego writer Facebook page. 

I’m still in the infant stage when it comes to my blog and especially to the newest Facebook page so the results were interesting.  I searched using Google, Bing and Yahoo and I also played with some others Brewer suggested: DuckDuckGo, Dogpile, Yippy and Ask.com.  
I first ran a search just using my name as I have been using it in my blog and my Facebook page.  Yahoo gave me a big goose egg, Bing listed a bunch of other Paula’s who use Facebook or LinkenIn while Google listed someone else with my name who had died!  The only saving grace is that Google listed my actual Facebook page…at about #6.

So I tried another tactic.  I searched for myself with the word “writer” after my name.  I’m very happy to say my blog was listed as number one on Bing and Yahoo but curious enough, it was in the number two spot on Google underneath my Facebook page. 
Next I searched my name with the word “blog” after it and that pushed me down to #2 on both Bing and Yahoo and all the way down to #9 on Google.  Even though my Facebook page was #1 on Google, my blog was pushed below articles about someone else with a similar name that had been arrested.  Isn’t that nice?   Now, I’m getting a bit concerned.  After all, I’m using Blogger, by Google, yet it is Bing and Yahoo who have my blog at the top of the list while Google does not.

I decided to try the other web pages Brewer suggested.  Using “writer” as the key word with my name, my blog was in the first or second spot on DuckDuckgo, Dogpile and also Yippy.  Apparently, Ask.com has no idea who I am because I was nowhere to be seen on that list.
One of the things I’ve learned when it comes to blogging and social media in general is that it can take quite awhile before it catches on.  Blogging itself is not a quick fix to get your motor running but instead it is a very slow Sunday drive.  Traffic might go up and down at times, your race might quicken at the unexpected rise in readers after you have offered an intriguing post everyone seems to appreciate but it can takes months and months and even more months before you gain the real momentum you are looking for.

Speaking of that, my professional identity has been on the web for years now so I decided to search for my other persona, the investigator, to see where that compared to my new writing and blogging personality.  I did not have a business website and I did not blog as a P.I. but the proof is in the pudding, I’ll say.  As I searched my name with the investigator title, each web search offered pages and pages of links to sites who say they know about me (they really don’t).  My business has been around for more than 10 years so it’s no surprise to see many websites offering what they believe is useful information about my business. 
But something did surprise me.

I discovered my name had been included in a Court of Appeals opinion after the defendant in a rape case I worked filed an appeal when the jury found him guilty.  It’s not surprising that I was unaware of the document, as the attorneys who handle the appeals do not usually need to make contact with me regarding a case, but it was interesting to see my name brought up as the defendant offered a list of the reasons he was requesting a new trial (not because of something I did/didn't do, if you are curious). 
You just never know what you may find but this was a fun and very useful task for me.  You can imagine I will now be looking at ways to make sure Google keeps me at the top of the list where it concerns my blog.  I’m sure Brewer will also be offering some suggestions on how to make that happen but if he doesn’t, I’ll be researching for some advice on that issue. 

If you’ve never searched for yourself and you do have some type of presence on line, try it and see what you come up with.  You might also have fun as well.

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