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656: Finding Online

One of my favorite things to do is take a look at the original numbers behind research, to see exactly how accurate the interpretations printed with them may or may not be. With my apologies to the data people at Bank of America, who I am sure are lovely people, the statistics they tried to dig up around this particular question leave… well, a lot more questions in my mind. Specifically, their 2018 Mobility Report, which interpreted the fact that 54% of people ask others for their phone numbers while meeting and 46% ask for social media handles… as the phone number being – quote – “on the verge of extinction.”

Similarly, their 2017 Spring Mobility Report claimed that 11% of the members of Generation Z Google themselves daily. Keeping in mind this was a study based on 1,000 people who had internet access, were taking internet surveys, had mobile phones, and had both checking and savings accounts… I’m pretty willing to bet that number is pretty skewed.

All of that skepticism noted, the question of where you point people that want to learn more about you or find you online is still one that should be explored. Why? Well, according to a similarly questionably funded and small study — this time of 100 company executives — 77 percent of employers are likely to Google a candidate before hiring them.

And sure, all of these studies are skewed and leave as many questions about methodology as answers. But – they do point to the fact that living a digital life, self-branding, and maintaining a presence on the major communication and discovery platform of the world are pretty much a fact of life. You may use LinkedIn, or about.me, or have your own domain name, or an Instagram account… whatever it is, the place you point people is important, because that is your one opportunity to control what they may see, instead of simply pointing them to Google.

Though even that is becoming more complicated with the newly ensconced Right to be Forgotten. Google releases data on how many right to be forgotten requests it’s received and how many it’s agreed to. As of the beginning of 2018, Google said it had received 655,000 requests to de-list 2.5 million links; it took down four in ten.