I had the pleasure of speaking about social media to two PR classes at the University of Maryland last week. They’re smart students, and they’re just starting to explore social media. Almost all of them had Facebook pages, a few were on LinkedIn, a couple on MySpace, and a smattering had started to explore the Twitterverse.

I started our conversation by asking them one simple question: When was the last time you Googled your name?

It caught their attention (and apparently what they discovered really startled at least a couple of them). Plus it proved a good entry point for a discussion about why companies and individuals need to be monitoring their online reputations and engaging with their stakeholders.

If you haven’t Googled your name lately, go ahead. Then come back and tell me what the Web spiders have learned about you.

Photo by Shashi Bellamkonda (Flickr).