Over the past decade we've gone from worrying about what people might find when they're searching your name on the internet to worrying about what they won't. Of course, no one wants random bits of embarrassment to come up when someone Googles their name but almost worse: finding nothing. How unimpressed are you when that happens? I'm usually stunned.
Over at Innovation in College Media they have a great post on utilizing social media to land a job, with some insight from David Spink of Scribnia.com.
A personal blog or portfolio site can serve as the corner stone to the online image that new journalists must shape, said Spinks.
"It's really important that you shape a that image of yourself -- that image that comes up when people seek you online," Spinks said. "It's up to you personally how you present yourself. Part of blogging and social networking is showing more of your personality and being more transparent. But then there's the saying that you shouldn't have anything online that you wouldn't show your mother."
In college, "what's your major?" is the ice-breaking line to beat all cliche ice-breaking lines. Whenever I used this and somone answered journalism, I advised them—almost on the verge of desperation—to start a blog. It's crucial. But as Spinks points out, there's a little more to it than that.
As I mentioned, in the past it was good enough to simply not have something bad come up when someone searches for you online. Now we're moving past the necessity to have something good come up and onto turning that online presence into real relationships.
Spinks advises that job seekers not overlook the networking aspect of social networking, using sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to build relationships.
"You should purposely seek out those relationships," Spinks said. "When I was out looking for a job after college I would seek out the people who worked for the company through social networking before I applied, before I sent out my paper resume and cover letter."
No longer is it good enough to broadcast, but you have to respond to and interact with the people you're pushing information towards.
In sports, this is even easier. Going back to the "what's your major?" question, the easiest way to create some form of connection is to find a common interest. In sports, you have that. From there you can find people who are the leading sources of information and insight (or humor) on your favorite league or team. Create Tweetdeck columns for your favorite teams and interact with others who are tweeting during games; it's just an anecdote, but one reasonable and simple strategy. It sounds simplistic, almost shallow, but many professional relationships rise out of personal ones and shared common interests.