The two free writes and googling myself revealed a lot about my digital presence, outward appearance, and future goals. The first free write made me think about what my current digital and professional profile looks like to others, which I had not really considered before this exercise. Also, I thought about what I would like people to see about me online, and I decided that I would like to be seen as a professional, ambitious young adult who is working towards his goals. Like everybody, I, of course, pay attention to what I publicize online, but this exercise showed me the importance of thinking about the bigger picture, not just individual additions to my digital profile.
The second free write required us to think about how we would define success for ourselves in five years. I found this activity the most beneficial because it forced me to consider my goals for both college and the start of my professional life. I determined that I would consider myself a success in five years if I had completed my undergraduate schooling and either developed my current business much further or started a new one that had the potential for success. In doing this, I realized that I should not expect to be some great business success within the next few years, rather be patient and work hard to build the infrastructure to achieve my long-term goals.
The last part of this exercise, googling myself, confirmed the hypothesis I had outlined in the first free write concerning how others would find if they searched my name online. A google search of my name resulted in a few articles about my business “The Supreme Saint,” including a lengthy one in Wired Magazine, my “Hudl” profile (high school football), and my social media accounts. The articles are available for anyone to read, but some of my social media accounts are on private, which limits others’ ability to see my digital presence in depth. I also searched myself on Bing and Yahoo, but the results were pretty much the same as when I searched on Google.
Through all of these exercises, I learned the importance of maintaining a respectable, professional digital presence as it often represents the first impression many people get of you. The most important lesson this activity taught me is that the internet can be such a powerful tool, but if you misuse it, it can also be a weapon. Therefore, we should all be very cautious and vigilant about what we put out on the internet and how we portray ourselves to others not only digitally but also in all social settings.