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Are You Google Worthy?
by Jennifer Brown Banks

There's a popular song that states "you're nobody until somebody loves you." That's old news. Today it seems that you're nobody until you have an online identity through Google.

It's true. Folks conduct Internet "background checks" for romantic connections, employment purposes, business deals, and even to snoop on your personal and professional affiliations.

Agents use it to see your publishing history, your "following" and the quality of your body of work. Your competition even uses it to see what you're up to and how to keep up with you.

This discovery came to me some time ago when I received an email from a writer friend of mine living in Tennessee. He told me he had Googled me to see what projects I had been working on, and was impressed that I had my hands in so many different things. "I see your work has even been translated into several languages, bravo!" he said.

I thought he was just pulling my leg. Different languages? So I Googled my name with quotation marks. Sure enough, there it was. My short stories written years ago, for Simon and Schuster's anthology series Chocolate for a Woman's Heart, appeared to have been in Spanish and Japanese. How cool!

And, might I add, when it comes to this Google thing, I've even gotten out-of-state clients due to my Google-ability.

How about you? When others look up your name online what does it reveal? Are you linked or referred to on others' websites? Do you Blog? Are your postings "tasteful?" Do you have a diverse online portfolio? Any online complaints or war of words? These are things to consider.

Here are 10 ways to become more Google worthy.

  1. Get a life! I mean a writing life. Post pieces to online forums, article directories, or Blogs. Have something to say, and say it well. Be the writer others aspire to be like and want to know more about.

  2. Get a website or Blog. No matter what your level of experience, every writer benefits from having a quality, online web page or blog. You can get feedback from visitors, hone your writing skills, speak your mind, and showcase your talent.

  3. Consider asking friends or writers who are more established to allow you to link to them and ride on their coat tail.

  4. Participate in public readings, library workshops, and other events in your local area—these activities often lead to online coverage.

  5. Send out press releases to let the media know what you're up to.

  6. Post reviews on books, music, and movies to the many online sites seeking your two cents.

  7. Join online writers'groups. There is strength in numbers.

  8. Write a weekly or monthly column. I currently have several. In fact, TheDabblingMum.Com has a nice opportunity for greater exposure. They will (upon approval), publish quality columns and newsletters that you create that are not widely circulated on the Internet as a part of their forum.

  9. Join some of the networking websites like Linkedin and Facebook.

  10. Periodically Google yourself to see what's out there. Sometimes there are inaccuracies in what's posted, sometimes there may be some plagiarism going on with your work or unauthorized usage. And sometimes you'll smile at the cool comments people make about how your work has impacted them. Isn't that what this writing thing is all about?

Here’s hoping you have oogles of Googles!

© Copyright 2008, Jennifer Brown Banks

Jennifer Brown Banks is the former senior editor of Mahogany Magazine. She holds a B.A. in Business Management and blogs at Penandprosper.blogspot.com

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