This one's for the profs. How many times have you told your students to search their own names on the web and see what comes up?
Recently I served as the chair of a search committee to hire an assistant professor in public relations. One of my jobs was to find people who might be qualified applicants to send them a job announcement in hopes of building a strong pool. I made a long list of names of people I'd met at conferences, found out about through the Journal of Public Relations Research, or knew on social media. I wanted to suggest that they apply.
Then I Googled them.
I was shocked how many doctoral candidates and professors had a first result of Rate My Professors. Really?
I didn't hold this against any of my prospective applicants (and couldn't even tell you anymore who they were), especially considering that people at bigger schools with more powerful Google juice have a greater chance of having their faculty webpage come up first. But it was a little uninspiring since one of the characteristics we were looking for was social media expertise, and it also made me wonder how many of us are building our own personal brands the way we tell our students to do.