When I became a blogger for this site, I was looking for an outlet to express opinions next to other thoughtful and mostly unknown writers. Even from before the time I came aboard, I turned to HuffPost for content and analysis that I couldn't as extensively find elsewhere. By joining this team of bloggers, I hoped that others might read my pieces with the same interest and devotion I gave to the website's other writers.
One of the unexpected perks that came along with writing for the site has been the sizable increase in my presence on the web. Google provides an unscientific sketch of the expanded horizons that sites like HuffPost offer its contributors. Since so many other sites automatically pick up Huffington Post articles, my stories (likely even this one) have been reprinted or linked on news aggregation Web sites.
I now routinely Google myself in order to find out where my articles have wound up after their initial publication. Needless to say, since starting to write for HuffPost, my return on Google searches has ballooned.
There is definitely a certain self-importance that goes into caring about something as narcissistic and strikingly meaningless as the number of Google hits a search of your name yields. Yet, I have found there is an added benefit to writing regularly for a blogging network that relies so heavily on its expanse to other sites.
One of the concerns that some have expressed about the Internet is how under its free-for-all system, it allows for everything from defamation to thoughtlessness. Whether it's a picture in which you are captioned, an article that misquotes you, or an embarrassing mention on a peer's blog, many people have reasons for pause or regret when it comes to their public Internet profile. Google can expose again wounds that have been all but sealed.
For me, there's nothing on the Web that I'm particularly ashamed of although there are definitely things I'd take back or have done differently if given the chance. That's where writing for HuffPost has proven unanticipated dividends. Thanks to news aggregators that have picked up my recent HuffPost pieces, my dreadfully written college newspaper stories are now buried deep inside the annals of double-digit pages on Google returns.
More and more we employ Google as a place for background checks, from the professional down to more curious and innocent social networking searches. I'm thankful that at least now I am able to highlight most prominently articles that I feel better exemplify my active interests and abilities. Just please make sure that, if you see it, you forgive my column giving a 2003-04 New York Islanders season preview. I was young and naive.