So I attended a TV panel discussion in Santa Monica last night. The topic was "Getting in the Writers Room" and one of the panelists was a TV exec who recently started her own consulting practice. She was articulate, knowledgeable and nurturing when she spoke, and I thought, she could be useful! I'm working on a TV pilot, something I've never written before, and it's quite a challenge. The consultant specializes in helping people like me navigate the development process.
I had a good conversation and handshake with this woman after the meeting. Got her card. Then went home and Googled her. Interestingly, her LinkedIn profile felt rather sparse. She had some contacts, but not nearly as many as I would have expected from someone with her years of experience. Hmmm, I was having my doubts. In this business, it's just as much about who you know as what you know. I was willing to pay for knowledge AND contacts. Knowledge alone... maybe. Isn't it interesting that a site like LinkedIn could prove to be a serious liability?
Have you Googled yourself lately? How do you come across to someone stumbling upon your profile? Is your Facebook picture accessible to the general public? Do you want it to be? You'd be surprised by how many people allow just about anyone to see their photos and be able to view all of their friends. Are you sure you want all of that hanging out?
Just a word of caution for those of you who depend upon making a good first impression. Check your LinkedIn and Facebook and whatever else is Googleable. Better to be off those social networks altogether than risk turning away potential clients. Nothing's private these days, unless you work hard to make it that way. The default is letting all your laundry hang out to dry.