UPDATED: Hmmm, now who IS this Brent Holliday character? When I google him, it looks like Boris and Urban Vancouver have information about him...

As a follow-up to Brent’s “Two Point Oh No” article over, and Boris Mann‘s response, Boris and I were wondering exactly how many hours it would take before Boris had higher google rank on Brent’s name than Brent did with his articles that have been running for (how many years?) on bctechnology.com’s website. It took about 36 hours.

When you Google Brent now, it is Boris Mann‘s site and the Urbanvancouver.com site that are listed first. However if you use MSN, Brent’s biography is first, which actually makes more sense, but Boris’ post is still on the first page at item #6.. Well, it looks like MSN succumbed to the same ranking algorithm. So now it’s official. Brent’s Google identity (goodentity?) (or anybody else’s information) for that matter has been successfully re-routed in only a few days.

This is one of the by-products of web 2.0 vs 1.0 when looking at identity. Web 2.0 means being found, or more accurately being found at the top of the list or on the first page of search engines. This is a cheap search engine optimization thing that many people are still not understanding.

This is not to pick on Brent of course, but is a humourous jab for some of the “it’s just hype” commentary in his article. It’s all just hype until somebody else is effectively commandeering your identity because they are on web 2.0 and you are not.

Another good friend of mine, Ean Jackson, said the other day, “When I google myself, I see stuff doing back years that I don’t want out there anymore as a part of my current work and sport identity…how do I remove it?” Ummmm….you don’t. But you can overwhelm it with more current information that is more relevant and gives a more accurate and current picture of your identity by being involved in Web 2.0 type websites that are indexed in a more effective and timely manner. By doing this, the older “layers” will slowly age and drop away. Not always, but generally speaking. I can google myself for example and still see articles that were written about me in 1995 on the fourth page of results.

First impressions in the real world vs the online world:

I was diligently trying to find some links to the research I read a long time ago that said something like the following: (if anybody knows where I can find it, please let me know.)

  • If you make a good first impression on somebody, it will take on average something like 6 or 8 bad impressions in a row before that person will readjust their “reading” of you to be neutral or negative.
  • If you make a bad first impression on somebody, it will take on average something like 6 or 8 good impressions in a row before that person will readjust their reading of you to be neutral or positive.
  • In summary, the first impression “weighs” 8x as much as the ones that follow and is very hard to modify in the mind of another person.

Various research studies have shown that first impressions happen somewhere between 6 and 15 seconds. I am not aware of any studies that have translated real-world first impression research into the online world, but I would guess that there is some sort of corollary theory that says that online impressions are formed from the first page of Googling somebody. I have certainly done it myself with individuals I have met for the first time.  

What is the lesson? If you care about your identity online and offline, then pay attention to this web 2.0 “hype” because otherwise you may find that people other than yourself will have more to do with creating your online identity than you will. And if you would like to learn more about building your online identity, go here and try some of these tips.