Have you ever looked up someone's name in Google or another search engine?
Guess what, other people have, too!
When someone gets an email from someone they don't know well, or they meet someone at a networking event, one of the first things they do is to look them up online and see what is being said about that person.
If you are applying for a job, the HR department and recruiters are looking online to see how you represent yourself and how others categorize you. " A recent study by the executive search firm ExecuNet found that 77 percent of recruiters run searches of candidates on the Web to screen applicants; 35 percent of these same recruiters say they've eliminated a candidate based on the information they uncovered." (from CareerBuilder)
Applying for college? Your comments on social networks and the company you keep could be the final deciding factor.