By DeRondal Bevly, Community Outreach Executive

Go ahead, no one will know.  I Google myself weekly, sometimes daily if I am bored.  All jokes aside, if you have not done so, hop on Google and run a search query on yourself.  What pops up?  Photos?  Resume?  Quote as a college sophomore from a school newspaper?  I ask because the world we live in becomes more transparent each day.  Information and content is sent around the world quicker than ever before.  In a series of keystrokes and finger swipes, word of mouth can make or break your brand instantly. 

This simple exercise is a great way to get a sense of your personal brand in the world.  Your brand is the nexus of who you are and where you are going, personally and professionally.

The explosion of social media has created new, creative and exciting innovations in every aspect of our lives.  The downside is every tweet, status update, blog post or photo has a permanent home in cyberspace.  For example, look at your Facebook profile if you have one.  Facebook is a wonderful social media tool that aggregates community and content into a simple, user-friendly interface.  But, scroll through your wall. Are there any questionable updates, photos or posts on your page?  If you read the fine print, anything you share or post becomes the property of Facebook.  May seem harmless now, but what would a future client/employer/contact think?

Now, I do not advocate living your life like a robot, constantly analyzing your behavior and wondering what others will say.  Life is short and we are all human beings.  However, as public relations practitioners and communications strategists, not only are we stewards of our personal brands, but also those of our employers and more importantly, our clients. 

The personal brand is a powerful thing.  In the business world, our reputation often preceeds us before we enter a room.  In situations where it does not, I assure you that the person you just met has already utilized Google to view your LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook profiles to help determine whether you are worthy of the account/opportunity.  Shouldn’t you do yourself a favor and do the same?