Vanity URLs. Carly Simon probably wrote that song about us

I just realized that Seth Godin’s URL is http://sethgodin.typepad.com. I guess I never gave it a second thought and assumed that every time I typed “Seth Godin” in the URL address bar I was being redirected to http://sethgodin.com, which turns out to be more like his online kiosk, booth, what have you. Typepad must love that man. I wouldn’t put it past him to be one of the first people to have a http://sethgodin [dot] blog URL if he wanted to.

I recently attended the second SAMPRB tweetup where the main topic of discussion was personal branding but I have observed, been intrigued and participated in our obsession with our names online for some time. I remember the first time someone uttered the words “I’m going to Google myself.” It was said jokingly then but whenever I hear it now I am 92 percent certain that it is serious and that it involves something done intentionally with the expectation of having it show up on that first Google Search page.Back in the day, when I had a Hotmail account and used Windows Live Messenger, I picked the picture of a soccer ball as my avatar. I supposed I thought that my favorite sport was all that was necessary to share about me with my friends and family online. Today, millions of people can and choose to share virtually everything about themselves on the Web. From their work, hobbies and interests to the very thing they are doing at a particular moment in time. And it is no longer just friends and family out there – we are talking to and forming relationships with complete strangers from anywhere in the world.

A sea of soccer ball avatars would make it difficult to wade through the number of social network profiles and the amount of personal information out there. So, should we be allowed vanity URLs to be more easily searchable on the Web? Or should we just get over ourselves?

As long as you are not putting too much pressure on your name by competing against Barack Obama on who gets more Google Search results… I think it is OK to find and have an online identity, stick with it and make your name and your face your first impression.  if you can fill out a profile genuinely and publish content that you are passionate about, even better. But if your Twitter name is @mrmuscles and your avatar is you flexing, please do check yourself.

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