I had to chuckle at Sam Grobart’s assessment of personal Web sites. Although many different online companies exist through which you can establish an online professional persona, Grobart has little appreciation for them (“Step Away From the URL: Sleek Personal Home Pages Are a Total Waste” Bloomberg Businessweek 9/9/13–9/15/13, p. 68):
“For the vast majority of people, personal websites are a colossal waste of time.”
In fairness, he is not talking about retail sites, business people, service providers, bloggers, and technology sites, but just the normal everyday person with a regular job. Nevertheless, I think his disdain for personal Web sites is misguided.
Today we are living in a new world and that world is online. Regardless of how “normal” or exotic your position is, grabbing your share of online real estate has important benefits. If you do not define your online professional persona, then you run the risk that someone else will. As Grobart admits:
“Most of us already exist all over the Internet, whether we like it or not.”
That is my point! Precisely because that is true, you need to assume responsibility (or regain it) for defining your online professional persona. You should tell your story first and you should keep refreshing your story. Do not just leave that to what others might publish about you. You have innumerable opportunities to establish yourself online. Do not abdicate the opportunity to random or even malicious forces.
Finally, you never know when someone will be genuinely searching the Internet for you. Perhaps a recruiter is considering you for a particular position, but does not want to initiate a false start. Perhaps someone needs just a little more information to establish your credibility for any number of reasons.
Here is my bottom line—I would rather find a person’s personal Web site, than search for one and not find it. Wouldn’t you?