Owning your identity online

I have a messed up gmail account name because I didn’t get my own name in time. Some other Lianne is walking around with my gmail account! I’m sure to those with very common names this is a familiar refrain. Whether your last name is Smith or Roengfieogne (I totally just made that one up), it might be time to claim your identification online.

*Why is this important? *Everything is a brand now, and whether you’re applying for a new job or just talking to a prospective client, they’re likely looking up your name online to get some additional information. Also, owning your name online ensures you’re in charge of your brand. And take it from me: It’s annoying to explain why your username isn’t your name.

But where do you start? First, I have started to sign up for most new social media applications while they’re in their beta (early) stage to ensure no one else gets it as their user name… in case the application takes off. I also signed up for the two new Yahoo mail accounts, even though I’m happy with my ill monikered gmail account.

Keep it consistent. If you have one email address with a period between your first and last name, keep up that format for the other things you sign up with. I went with my first and last name as all one word.

Getting a URL in your name might not be a bad idea either, but keep in mind you’ll need to use a reputable company to buy the domain. Some clever person has already bought every single last name there is, so if Mr. Roengfieogne decides Roengfieogne.com is the way to go, he might be out of luck –  unless he wants to barter a deal on the domain name from its current owner.

While I don’t know of a company yet that will automatically enroll your name, or brand, into every new online application that pops up, there are companies that try to make this task a little easier. ClaimID lets you track where your identity is online. Within this site, they’ve created a guide to track yourself, which is pretty cool.