Googleability and portfolios

Subject: Googleability and portfolios
From: "D. Michael McIntyre" <michael -dot- mcintyre -at- rosegardenmusic -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 5 Feb 2007 18:54:38 -0500

Forked off of another thread:

On Monday 05 February 2007 2:11 pm, Dan Goldstein wrote:
> Here I go, spoiling the fun again. Just a friendly reminder that these
> posts will be publicly available for as long as there's an Internet. Any
> prospective employer or client who Googles your name might come across
> these harmless messages and leap to an unfortunate misunderstanding.

Does that ever actually happen? How important is googleability when it comes
to landing that dream job?

That's really an interesting point for me to consider, as I chew on the notion
of trying to make a career out of writing. I only have three work-for-hire
pieces to put in my portfolio, but Google links to a substantial portion of
the writing I've done over the years. I honed my writing chops online, in
public. I can watch myself go from being a twerp in college to somebody who
people would read sooner, rather than later, in a variety of wildly different
contexts. I'm always getting the odd message from someone looking me up to
see why I haven't visited an old haunt in years. People remember me.

I suppose the unifying thread is that even since my twerp days, I always
gravitate to becoming some kind of authority on the subject at hand, and one
who answers more questions than he asks. I'm a roving expert. Whatever I
find myself doing at the moment, I absorb it, school myself in it, and then
turn around to spread the knowledge I've gleaned to someone else. I'm
especially good at taking something that cranky old Linux gurus have said,
and expressing it in terms that are accessible to, and understanding of
newbies, and I have a long trail of doing that steadily since about the end
of 2001. (Though less steadily of late, as I have started to get cranky and
old myself. Even if I'm too stupid to remember what CVS stands for.)

I've been wondering whether I should try to incorporate some of this in making
a case for myself as a writer, and how I might go about doing it. I have a
story to tell, but I have to tell it carefully, so as to make a compelling
case for myself in spite of my lack of relevant formal training or education.
(BA in Spanish, 10 years as an over-the-road truck driver. Nobody ever
advertises for a BA in anything, let alone Spanish. Then there's the "So why
have you been doing a job any high school dropout could handle when you have
a college degree?")

Anyhoo, thinking out loud as much as anything else. I don't know what answers
I'm looking to find here, but I welcome anyone to opine as they wish.
D. Michael McIntyre

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