Editor’s note: Doximity Advisory Board member Bryan Vartabedian, MD,
is a pediatric gastroenterologist at Texas Children’s Hospital and blogs at
33 charts.

Go to Google right now, type your name and see what comes up. For better or
worse, that’s what people understand about you when they search for you.

As scary as that may sound, you have more control than you think. In fact, if
you don’t take charge of what’s created about you, someone else will be glad to
take care of it. Lee Aase, director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social
Media
tells marketing professionals that “the solution to pollution is
dilution.” In other words, you can’t control the negative, but you can sure
create lots of other stuff for people to see. Here, six powerful ways you can
influence your own online identity.

Create a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is basically a digital CV on
steroids. It’s where you park your current position and work history for
everyone from your future boss to your college roommate to peruse (if you don’t
want patients to link to you, be sure to shut off the “connections” feature).
The most effective profiles I’ve seen are those that have taken advantage of
the biographical “summary” feature. Check out Wendy Sue Swansons’s page to
see how she’s used it to promote herself as an advocate and media spokesperson.

Join Doximity. The profile that you create on Doximity is visible to
the public through the search engines, and I’d argue that it’s better suited
for physicians because it allows you to effectively highlight specific details
of medical training and practice settings. It’s also very tailored in terms
of connections: Doctors can colleague you, and patients can’t make that kind
of contact but will see relevant-to-them data such as your public phone
line.

Write something. Perhaps the most powerful way for people to understand
what you’re about is to write about it. A move like launching your own blog
allows you to create an empire of tailored information. If you’re not inclined
to start your own site, see if your local hospital has a blog. More than
likely, they’ll be happy to add another good, original voice.

Tape something. Don’t like to write? Then grab a Flipcam and start your own
channel on YouTube. People love to watch videos, and YouTube searches
beautifully. Better yet, create your own videos and park them on a blog. Bottom
line, find the medium that’s comfortable for you and run with it.

Make use of SlideShare. In all likelihood, you have brilliant material
sitting on your computer right now. I’m talking about your old powerpoint
presentations. They can be a great way to tell about you and your expertise.
Use SlideShare to upload them for public viewing, making sure your name is
prominent on your account and in the description of the program.

Sign up for about.me. Some doctors may find about.me too flashy, but
depending on your practice and what you’re looking to achieve, this service’s
one-page profile-generator can be a simple way to push out a little more
content.

Bottom line: There’s no one “right” way to build your footprint, and a
lot of your choices will depend on where you want to go professionally. If
you’re looking to recruit patients as a cardiologist, for example, your
approach may be very different than that of a budding physician executive. My
strongest advice is to find a role model who’s doing what you want to do–don’t
be afraid to take a page from his or her playbook. Finally, always remember
that what you do and what you post is a reflection of you. Be smart.