It's hard to be a competent, successful woman these days. It seems that you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.
Of course I speak to two articles published in the past few days highlighting the posh double-edge swords with which we, the "gentler" sex, are accessorizing.
A recent study by William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson, authors of Career Distinction: Stand Out by Building Your Brand
, indicates that "female executives at the VP and C-levels have a considerably better career presence online than male executives at the same level."
Good news, right? Well ... sort of. The study surveyed more than 2,500 executives, using the Online Identity Calculator
(created by Arruda and Dixson). This helps subjects evaluate the quality of their online presence and subsequently creates a plan designed to enhance their "GQ or Google Quotient."
The calculator computes scores based on the number of hits generated from Googling your own name ("egosurfing" or "vanity searching"), then gaging the relevance of those hits to the respondent's expertise.
Women, despite having generally fewer hits than men, indicated higher relevance of online IDs. However, what seems like a blessing may not be: Researchers say these results are consistent with "the hypothesis that men are more willing to communicate their success, while women spend less time getting the message out about their accomplishments."
In preparing this article, I used the Online Identity Calculator twice.
The first time, I conducted a Google search for my name and indicated on the Calculator that my search results had some relevance
to my area of expertise. I received a score of eight out of 10 and was deemed "digitally disastrous."
The second time I took it, I indicated that my results had high relevance
. I received a nine out of 10 and was deemed "digitally distinct." The test appears to be very subjective, probably best suited for those who have only one major career role and not those who wear many hats.
So if the authors are correct in that "reputation is the only accepted currency" in this "new world of work," women need to start getting more hits on Google to be taken more seriously.
The theory, of course, is quantity over quality. The more hits, the more accomplished one seems, which makes you more valid.
There may be good reason that women are not broadcasting themselves as much as they should. In an article
by the New York Times, women who are "earning higher wages than men in the same age range" are "encountering forms of hostility they weren’t prepared to meet, and are trying to figure out how to balance pride in their accomplishments against their perceived need to bolster the egos of the men they date."
The sword thus twists further into our sides.
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Get yourself out there, girl! Egosurf with the best of them and ride that wave. If all else fails, be sure to remind your dates how big their
online ID is.
Worst comes to worst, you can hit She's Geeky
this October and ruminate over the usual pay parity challenges allegedly prevalent