Your Internet footprint is simply how you show up when you are “Googled” or what shows up when people search for your name/s on other search engines. It is usually only of concern when someone has some past behavior to hide. Many employers do online searches on candidates for new jobs to help narrow their short list. Equally, it is done in business for purposes of due diligence and competitive analysis.
Firstly though, I’m not going to pass this off as something that is critically important. It’s not – except when it comes to applying for a job. The interest here is for mobile app developers aiming to leverage what they have done and are doing for something more. That may be a job with another app developer, it might be to get in front of journalists or businesses, subcontracting, or any number of other possibilities. Fundamentally, your Internet footprint should make it easy to see that you are who you say you are and have done what you claim.
I’ve come across individuals and companies who have made some significant claims about their internet related and programming abilities. Yet, upon investigation, there was nothing there to validate their claims. I’ve come across people who have almost no Internet footprint whatsoever. This is not bad unto itself, except where it relates to their claims. Frequently, as a developer for a company, much of what you might do is masked – under an alias, under a first name, ghost written for someone else, or simply developed solely for internal use only. These activities can be easily covered by your resume and personal references.
On the other hand, if you have been developing apps on an independent basis or have your own company, then there are numerous venues for you to be represented — your company web page, social media profiles, blog posts, articles, etc. Social media is one of the easiest ways to represent yourself.
Frequently though, independent developers may blur the lines between their personal and professional representation across social media venues.
The fix is simple — determine whether your current profiles more accurately represent your personal or your professional “face” and set up a second profile respectively, or strictly limit your activity to the single account, accordingly. Moreover, you do have the option to represent yourself, your company or your products individually.
Ultimately, your overall goal is to get what you want to represent you to be reflected on the first page of any search results for your personal name (company name or product).
As I mentioned this in the Crowdfunding article Wednesday, having a good online profile — so that when people go to validate that you are and do as you claim, that they can immediately see it. The very first thing I did when getting the Rally Team contacted me was to “google” their lead designer – Bryan Lemster — and sure enough, he had a great internet footprint reflecting that he has been in app design for a while on a professional basis.
As the old saying goes, “Publish or Perish” – practically words to live by. The Internet does not forget – and that’s a double edged sword. When you do good, make sure the record reflects it. Oftentimes, that means that you will need to take care of that yourself, but LinkedIn can be a great help in that regard. If you’ve done great work for someone, ask them for a recommendation.