Why I didn’t change my last name

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According to this article on About.com, “Each year, approximately 3 million women change their name. They give up their maiden names and take their husbands’ surname upon marriage. That’s 90% of women who marry.”

I am not one of those three million. Most of you know me as Aurora Meyer. Meyer is my maiden name and though my married name is different, I still go by Meyer professionally.

There are a myriad of reasons why I chose to keep my maiden name, but the most important is that if you Google my married name very little comes up. My credibility and “brand” are all intrinsically connected to Meyer. I worked hard to build my credibility as a journalist and now as a professional. I wasn’t ready or willing to just toss that all aside and start from scratch.

I’m lucky to have a supportive husband, who doesn’t care what my last name reads on my business card. It helps that he is in a similar business and having a different last name keeps our professional lives separate from each other.

Is this a perfect solution? No. It works for us. I realized that changing my name meant more than However, as more and more women build their identities under their maiden names, making a change can mean losing credibility. At least until Google finds a way to connect new last names to results.

Reputation Alerts

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I wrote a similar post on this topic for the blog I maintain for the Missouri State Teachers Association, but I strongly feel the content is just as relevant to professionals and students. Particularly in light of recent comments by Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, which “outlined his dystopian vision of the future, in which children change their names at adulthood to escape damning online dossiers — dossiers of the sort stored by Google.” (Missed it? Click here for the article.)

It is not narcissistic to want to know what information is out there about you, especially if you are looking for a new position or may be up for a promotion, because until you know what is out there, you can’t do anything about it.

Prime example, if you Google “Aurora Meyer” a Facebook page that is not mine shows up in the first page of results. At least she is not the previous Aurora Meyer, who lived in Egypt (a country I have yet to visit), with a questionable business. Try explaining that in an interview situation without know why the interviewer is asking if you have ever visited Egypt.

Ideally, you shouldn’t be adding or allowing others to add information that you would want to hide from in 10 years. But that isn’t always possible so it is better to be prepared.

I’ve found alerts are the best way to be up-to-date and current. I use Social Mention and Google Alerts. With both. I get a more complete picture of what is out there.

I always suggest setting an alert up for your name, e-mail address and business with and without quotes. Once you’ve gotten the basic ones set up, you can add more alerts. Google will let you create up to 1,000.

For those new to Social Mention or Google Alerts, you might notice that not every item is about what you asked it to search for—that’s ok. You’ll learn how to filter at a glance what is relevant and what isn’t.

Fair Warning: These services are not fool-proof. You will still need to Google yourself regularly and scroll through more than the first few pages of results.