It’s the grand finale of our speaker series! In this fifth post (Phew! That was a long conversation!) Carolynn of Cornerstone Reputation discusses the art and science of choosing a personal domain name, along with what you should do if you have a really common name. And Dr. Maggie Wray of Creating Postitive Futures, LLC highlights a key aspect of the Cornerstone Reputation Workshop: the fact that we walk students through a step-by-step process to set them up for success online.
Carolynn: I would say the one thing that you should do is obtain your domain name. Obtain www.FirstNameLastName.com, or if that’s not available, FirstNameMiddleNameLastName.com.
Again, this is the number one piece of online real estate that is affiliated with you. It will be the first thing that comes up when someone searches you. If you think about it, you really want control of that content.
It doesn’t matter if you populate it. You don’t have to populate it, although we obviously recommend that you do because it’s a powerful way for you to help take control of your online identity. You just definitely don’t want someone else buying it and populating it with content that you don’t really want affiliated with you.
Dr. Wray: What would students do if they have a really common name?
Carolynn: That’s a great question. If someone already has your first, middle, last, there are some other ways you can start to think about it that is meaningful for who you are as a student in that phase of life.
I would probably obtain “first, middle, last, high school name” or “first, middle, last, and your number one passion that you think you might actually be displaying in your college application.”
If you find yourself in that type of a situation, you can always include that link in your actual application so that if someone is searching for you and you have a common name, they’ll know that that’s you, not the one who came up when they searched.
Dr. Wray: If people want to connect with you further and learn more about what your company is doing, what would be the best way for them to follow up with you?
Carolynn: I would recommend everyone come take a peek at our website. It’s www.cornerstonereputation.com. Our free gift for everyone will be our troves and troves of research. The reason why it actually is a gift is that no one else has ever done this research before.
What’s really valuable about it is that I speak at a number of national college counseling conferences and a lot of colleges have told us that they’re starting to use our research to help develop their online search policies.
So, that’s a little edge that a family could have with regards to understanding when, how, and why they’ll be searched and how they can take control of that process.
Dr. Wray: Could you tell us a little bit more about your workshop?
Carolynn: Absolutely. We have roughly a two-hour virtual workshop for students to work through, and essentially, what they will have done over the course of the workshop is all of the stuff that I talked about.
They will have told Google “Hey, this is the most authoritative information about me. It’s connected here. Here it is.” In return, they will basically have changed what comes up and in what sequence when they are Google searched by an outsider.
A really exciting part of the workshop is that they do obtain their own domain name and they will build out a personal website that they can choose to publish online or not, depending on where they are.
But it really gives them the confidence to go into that college interview knowing that they’re in control of what will come up when they’re searched online.
Dr. Wray: Absolutely. I love that. It’s so empowering, too, because I think a lot of this feels like something that is very out of your control. “What are people going to find about me when they search online? Oh no. I have this fear that they might discover things I don’t want them to.”
What you’re doing is really putting students in the driver’s seat and giving them back control of that online reputation and putting that power in their hands so that they can decide, very consciously and very strategically, “How do I want to be perceived by the world?”
What’s cool about your workshop is that you’re absolutely walking them through it and showing them exactly what to do, in what order, step by step. If the student is a little bit technically challenged or if they’re intimidated by technology – which I know isn’t as common for students as it is for parents but there are still those teens out there who would say “I would not feel comfortable finding a domain name. I don’t even know where I would start to do that,” and it can be very overwhelming – you really take them by the hand and guide them through the whole process, which is fantastic.
Thanks, Carolynn. This has been fantastic and so interesting. I learned so much from you, and I’m so glad you got an opportunity to join us today.
Carolynn: Thank you so much for having me. It was so fun. Hopefully everyone is out there busy on their devices, changing captions and changing their settings.
Edited by Jennifer Schwartz