"The Social Network" premiers Friday - and it promises to be a powerful dramatization of the origins of Facebook and the character of its founder Mark Zuckerberg. The only problem is, it plays fast and loose with the story, and Zuckerberg's reputation and online ID will probably suffer in the process. The movie may well have the power to become "truth" for the huge viewing audience.
Whatever Zuckerberg has done in the past to shape his brand for the public will probably not be able to supersede the impression millions will get of him from the movie. What does that mean for the rest of us, who aren't likely to have a movie dramatizing our lives?
That we'd better control our brand before it is controlled for us. With ~80% of recruiters and hiring authorities using Google and social media to scope out possible candidates, job seekers need to have an online, on-brand ID that projects them the way they want to be known.
If you Google your name and don't come up with anything, come up with very little or with content that is off-brand or of questionable taste, then don't waste any time in getting your personal/career brand out there. Three fast ways to do this are:
1. Go to ZoomInfo.com and fill out your profile: many recruiters go here first to see the profile for you there. If you haven't created your own on the site, zoominfo will go out on the Web and aggregate what it finds there.
2. Go to LinkedIn.com and fill out a complete profile. This site is a go-to source of candidates for employers and recruiters (often after they search your name on Zoominfo).
3.Create your Google profile to give you one more place on the Web that you can control what people read about you.
Then, go to Facebook.com and, if you have a profile, do whatever you have to in order to eliminate material that may reflect poorly on you (even other people's writing) and keep you from being considered for a job. Even if it means deactivating your account or deleting your wall.
If you go on to invest in the more time-consuming activities to project your online ID - such as blogging, twittering, setting up a brand portal in the form of a blogsite or Web portfolio - all the better.
You still might not be able to prevent Aaron Sorkin from hijacking your reputation should he decide to write a screenplay about you, but you'll optimize the chances that an employer will decide to bring you in for an interview!