Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Know Thy (Social Media) Self

I've not written a blog for a week or so because I've been working on one of the module tasks that is taking quite some time! However I have been reading everyone elses and it's been fascinating! So many of us are going through the same thought processes and sparking off other threads of thought or interest, it's brilliant to read!

Sinead McMenemy recently wrote that she had searched herself on Google, and Sarah Smales did the same. We did this in our campus session the other week, but I thought I'd look again for myself, and for my performance persona.

When I'm applying for performance work, I use my stage name, which is completely different to my real name. I chose the name I perform under as an homage to a dancer from the Belle Epoque, from whom I took a lot of my inspiration for costume and visual imagery. I also wanted a stage name that could in no way be linked to my own, as I have been aware of friends who have encountered issues from employers over their performing in cabaret: one such friend was a Primary School teacher, and had been for twelve years. She took up Burlesque performance as a hobby and performed in several smaller shows over the space of about a year. Then her local education authority somehow found out, decided she was not fit to work with children and she was fired from her job. She also, understandably, lost the love for performing after this unpleasantness. I'm hopefully never going to be in a situation as drastic as this, but I'd prefer to be on the safe side!

Not a 'fake' name as such: does a 'stage name' count as fake??

So, when I Googled my stage name, I wasn't initially surprised: my website was first, pleasingly, followed by YouTube, Twitter, my Blog, a couple of casting websites I'm registered on and my SoundCloud, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram appeared a page or two in. My blog actually came up several times over the first couple of pages, along with the blogs of performers and photographers I've worked with in the past.

It was a couple of pages in that things got murky as I realised I'd been tagged in pictures on Tumblr, on Flickr and several other photosharing websites, an artist had sketches of me on his website (for sale!) and several reviews of shows I'd been in had mentioned me by name (mostly very nice thankfully!) I was amused to to see that I had an IMDb page as I don't know how they get set up, and I found a video of one of my acts that I actually needed a video version of so I was happy to come across those!

'Know Thyself...' (Socrates)

The photos were actually fine - I was worried to check on them to be honest! I didn't quite know what to expect! A couple of them aren't the most flattering (I tend to pull *all* the faces when I'm on stage) but they are an accurate representation of myself and my performance style.

So it wasn't as bad as it could have been at all! I felt happy with the initial impression I feel people would get of my performance persona if searching for me online, and even if a couple of the pictures are less than perfect, they're not as bad as they could have been!

It was when I Googled my real name that I was shocked: not a lot at all on the interwebs! Of the pictures, the first two that come up are of me, but that's all... I scrolled down quite a way and couldn't see another one. I guess the privacy settings on my Facebook and Twitter are ramped up high!

  
These are the two pictures that popped up on the Google Image search - I'm glad as I use these two across my public social media sites!
Both images are copyright of Zebrowski Photography

The search results provided my LinkedIn (so I'll need to get onto updating that properly I suppose!), Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and that was it! An old link to a fundraiser from about six years ago popped up two or three pages in, but I was surprised that this blog didn't show up as when Paula searched my name during the campus session it was one of the first links! Strange...

Now, obviously here I go by Dani Tougher, but the name on my 'real life' CV is Danielle. So I looked for that one out of interest... Nothing! The electoral role from when I used to live in Liverpool while I was at college, and that was all! No pictures, nothing!

I went back to college for a visit last year: the college from the outside, Palladium Studio, the photo of my year group hanging in the foyer!

This got me thinking. In one respect I think this is a good thing - if potential employers are searching for Danielle then it would take a dedicated investigator to find anything that might be construed as inappropriate from my performing career or even stumble across my Facebook with pictures of wild nights out: however, it could also be a bad thing as it implies I have absolutely no presence on Social Media, which, in this day and age, is something people may find suspicious (i.e. What am I hiding, and how? or Does she even know how to turn a computer on?!)

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this...

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