I recently read an interview with an agent in regards to googling potential clients before offering representation. She said that if she couldn't find the person (blog, twitter, facebook etc) in a google search that it was an automatic no to representation. Do authors really need an author platform at the querying stage? Is this a common position? What about when you use your maiden name for your day job and married name for writing (or vice versa)? What about common names where the person who comes up in a search isn't you?
Oh I love it when my colleagues demonstrate themselves to be idiots! More good clients for MEEEEEE!
Here's a list of the clients who had no, and I mean ZERO, electronic presence when I signed them:
Stephanie Jaye Evans
If I was feeling particularly snide, I'd post copies of their books covers.
If an agent insists on a public presence before signing a novelist, the ONLY thing that does is limit his/her pool of prospective clients.
It doesn't hurt you at all because you don't want an agent who clearly doesn't understand that novelists should be known for their work, not the fact they want to be writers.
Which is not to say that public presence is a bad thing, it's not; but it's not a requirement. Anyone who says it is is speaks only for him/herself, not all the rest of us looking around for delicious new clients.
Now, if we are talking NON-FICTION, that is a different question entirely. Public presence is enormously helpful in a non-fiction book proposal but it is a very subjective measure, depending on the kind of book proposed, and the amount of time between querying an agent and submitting to publishers.
The truth is all agents have ways to separate "gonna read" from "not gonna read." I like it when my competition picks a way that has nothing to do with the quality of the work because I am a competitive beast and I think that's a short-sighted standard.
Is there anything you can do about this? No
Is there anything you SHOULD do about this? No.
What should you do: focus on what you can control. Write a great book about something I want to read.