The world was flattened by a Panda

Who wouldn't see this coming?

This is a story about the day the web changed… probably forever.

No, no, not THAT day… the other one.

I first noticed about six weeks ago… and that is a key part of the story.

There I was, minding my business… doing what I love, inventing for people, developing strategies and working with great teams to create awesome and interactive content and capabilities using the Internet.

There is always so much more that we could do, and we all work within our own spaces, right?

I was in a social business setting and in the course of conversation someone mentioned they had googled my name, pressed “I feel lucky” and found a doctor with my name instead.

Now, I am Kenneth A. Faw and he is Kenneth D. Faw… and while we haven’t met, I am sure he must know about me since we have shared the first Google search page for many years.

A GREAT name and a nice smile, too!

He looks like a pretty nice guy, and it seems that he has an established medical practice, the Evergreen Sinus Center in Kirkland, WA. I haven’t been to Kirkland, WA, but I have been to a sinus doctor or two. There is nothing worse than a sinus infection for taking me out of the game.

Since 1993, if you did a Google search on “Ken Faw”, you would have found me at the top. In fact, I used to have the top 3, and then the following 5 after two of his.

I never had to do anything to get it there… after all, I work on the Internet all day, I had a blog for a short stint in 2006, I have spoken in almost 100 conference sessions in the last ten years and I have an uncommon name (I suppose I should say “WE” have an uncommon name).

So that is the key… I never had to do anything to get it there. I never explicitly felt entitled to the “top spot”, but I never took responsibility for being there. I never actually did anything.

I had read about the “Panda” updates to Google search algorithms, but hadn’t thought about them with respect to me before. Then I read this post by Chris Brogan that has a ten-minute video of the implications of the update, and I immediately thought of my namesake, Ken.

This Panda can flatten anything... and it probably should be so.

Then I thought of you… if I didn’t notice how the change happened, seemingly overnight to my personal brand (though it is talked about everywhere), and if I didn’t think about its deeper meanings, then maybe you haven’t either.

Now, you don’t have to be at the top of Google search. Neither do I. But to take anything for granted and then to learn it is no longer the case compels you to decide whether it matters to you.

For me, what’s important is the greater lesson of working in a social, global marketplace and being irresponsible for my identity… not specifically the Google search issue, but where else am I passively ignoring messaging about me on the medium that I use every day?

What are you doing to manage your message? People will find you on the web, especially if you work on it extensively. What do they find? Do you know? Do you care?

Share your thinking with others by posting a comment.

About ken
Creative insights, passion and technical adrenaline - strategist, agile coach and marketer, providing a good life for wife of 20 years & 2 awesome teenagers!

4 Responses to The world was flattened by a Panda

  1. bfmooz says:

    Highly entertaining post, my friend. Quite familiar, too. Myself also being in the uncommon name club, my LinkedIn profile usually sat on the top of the list. In the last year, it has been seized by a photographer sharing my name. It was a weird feeling when I first discovered it, almost like a personal violation. How could someone have taken my spot? In the course of it, I ended up looking through his site at his photographs and saying to myself “wow…his work is actually quite good.” I actually find myself now going back there once in a while to see if he has any new stuff published. Funny how something as simple as a name can create a connection. It makes you ponder…is there a photographer somewhere out there checking up on me?

    • ken says:

      I would think there is, Moose. To have been top of the list for a while, and for the other “moose” to have a solid Internet presence, I would think he has googled his/your name in the past and said to himself, “Self… there is a guy out there with my name… I wonder who he is?”

      It is funny to me to think about “my name”. I have heard it said that the most beautiful sound to a person, in any language, is the sound of their own name. Now, those with the name “Sue Johnson” or all the friends I have had with common names in other cultures would probably say “Get over it, already.” But there is something in our psychology to have what we think of as an uncommon name.

      Actually, I hope Dr. Faw (which coincidentally was one nickname for me back in high school, and I won’t share the others) finds this post on his own and drops us all a comment. He sounds like a nice guy… and you can never know enough sinus doctors. Am I right?

  2. [The comment appeared to get mis-translated, and I edited it as best I could- kf]

    I agree with the author. To be successful as the writer of a blog, you have to make a lot of connections, but not by spamming them. The issue is one of participation with them.

    [At least, that is close to what Google translate gave me when I passed it through three filters. I have preserved the original below- kf]

    I approve with it thoroughly with the author. It is not indulgent to correspond with not far from this descendants, but, the writer of the blog impeccably successful. Engrossing issues are going in a flawless manner.

    • ken says:


      Thanks for your comment. Please forgive my edits if I misinterpreted what you meant.

      Kind regards,

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