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February 22, 2011

Control the Aggregation of You

Aggregation

1.  a group, body, or mass composed of many distinct parts or individuals
2.  a : the collecting of units or parts into a mass or whole b : the condition of being so collected Ewtiywt-01 If you haven't noticed everyone seems to be building a case about you on the web. You voluntarily give up information to everyone you can to buy a book, rate a place or a restaurant. It's kind like some animal stalks you to make your life more convenient of course. On the web, there exists a forever thirst for facts about you, your habits, your friends preferences and your preferences. 

A legion of social media "experts" suggest you move as much of your professional data to the web so that you can rank in major search engines like Google. That's fine general advice but it's not good enough. You need to design your future and narrative on the web as you create a "social network" profile on and vanity profiles on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter. You actually need to do much more to control and direct the aggregation of you. 

Taking control means finding the aggregation activity around you and your name and ensuring it has a clear, short and long term public relations plan. Don't just sign up and be active. Who has time for lots of unproductive behavior? Yes, a lot of people do.

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But is that what you want? Just to be super active with these online forums? Or do you want to control them and use them as much as you can for your purposes? Consider the latter if you are ultra-serious about your life and career. If it's just a for fun thing to do then have at it because this advice is not for you.

As an executive, an advanced thinking careerist or a job seeker in transition I would argue that you should not just willy nilly start some never ending web build, thinking it will yield value. But a lot of people do. Think about productivity and purpose to what you are doing. Most people don't. But you should. 

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So what should you do? It depends. Yes, it depends. Let me start by asking you just two questions:

What are trying to accomplish with a foray into the world of online, social and professional networking?

Who do you want to be and what do you want to be promoted about your background now? 

Before I send you away with more general advice about your online presence and portfolio I need to know more about what you are trying to accomplish. 

Do not dismiss the importance of what is already out there about you, the aggregation of you. Site after site is creating a dialogue around you, your name and piecing together a tangled web of you whether you like it or not. 

All you have to do usually is Google your name or do a web search of you. It's probably not an accurate portrayal of who you are but it is out there and you better do something about it.

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Part of our work is to help job seekers and most over 40 executives start claiming their web presence with a clear design for their future career brand. For younger than 40 workers we focus on branding them positively for the future and helping them design a clearer path to how they want to be perceived. Why? Because they are usually super active and super diluted on the web. 

For all of these people we now take a mostly entrepreneurial approach to developing their career brand. Few people want or think they will stay with their existing company or organization for more than two or three years. Try to manage, maintain and direct the conversation of you that is going online. Don't just add to the jumbled aggregation of you.

Posted at 12:38 PM in , ,

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