Last night, after the Drupal Meetup, we were having many interesting conversations at the bar. One started as a question about why I did so much open source activity. There are a lot of answers there, though mostly at this point open source is just in my DNA. If I do something, I open it, because that's what I now do.
But I posed as a return question for everyone to think about what their Google footprint was. If you search for your name, what comes up? how much of that is you?
"Sean Dague" in google returns: About 652,000 results (0.14 seconds). I am sure 99% of that is me.
Page 1 is (in order): my blog, my twitter account, my linked in profile, my directory entry in android market, a comment I wrote on greenmonk blog, my github, my old (long dead blog), my quora account, my meetup profile, my CPAN account. Some of that is current and used, some of it isn't so current, but because google ranks the communities important, it bubbles up.
If you start going through pages you'll see contributions to projects I've done, bugs filed, mailing list posts, presentations at conferences, retreads of my listings in twitter and android market on 3rd party sites. A public life on the internet that dates back to about 2001 (there may be earlier stuff, but that's when I started being consciously active in the open source world).
I can live with that, it's a reasonable picture of who I am, that future friends, associates, employers can all use and see for background. The amount of content I put out on my blog means that it will remain hit one for my name. It also means that I'm always on the front page of "Dague" in google as well. Having an uncommon name is actually an incredible boon in the 21st century if you want to build a reputation. Something that I hated as a kid, is something I'm very pleased about now.
Much like your credit score, your google footprint isn't ever completely in your control. But you can be very deliberate about putting out content, in code, comments, emails, blog posts, public social network artifacts, which will shape that footprint to be some representation of you.
Take a minute today an look at your Google footprint, and see what picture the internet gets of you.
I'd love to hear stories, challenges, or completely new ideas in comments, so please post. And just think, that will also add to and shape your Google footprint.