I have done a vanity search, and I'm pretty sure you have too. We wonder, "What comes up if I Google myself?" Years ago, I could find a distant mention of myself in a school alumni report on the third page of a Google search return. Now with the infiltration of Facebook and LinkedIn into our everyday lives, our profiles come up, an since my book and blog have come out, those sites return highest which is right in line with what I want my personal online brand to be. That's all nice and good, but why is this important? What about the other things that might come up you may not be aware are out there?
What would happen if your employer or prospective employer looked you up on Bing or Google? The Web returns may offer your profiles, a mention in a paper from your school days, or your entry into a race.
What wold happen if you searched your Images return? This is the one that most of us neglects. Consider this scenario. You went to a party, had a good time, and had some photos taken of you with a drink in hand. You may have been at a summer pool party and were snapped in a bathing suit. You think nothing of it because you manage your Facebook settings like I do, in stealth mode. Everything is private and for Friends eyes only, plus I know all of my Facebook friends personally.
In this scenario, your "friend" posts party photos to his Wall and his settings on the photo album are to share with "Everyone". Then you are tagged, enabling search to find you. Your employer decides to search for you and finds you having a good time from the public photo album. Now you're in trouble, especially if you are one of these elementary school teachers we've seen get fired over a partying Facebook photo. Parents don't want the wild person influencing their children, and the person loses a job over a photo.
The point of this vanity search is to help you go beyond the Web returns and look at your Images. I once heard a panel of recruiters say this is the first place they go when researching a candidate because it can help them not waste time in the event the candidate has a bad personal brand online. This is a little career advice to help you manage your personal brand. I encourage you to perform regular vanity searches to help police the perception of you!