In this day and age, if we’re curious about someone, we don’t just sit in the dark and speculate. We Google. Online investigation has become such a common reflex that in some cases it’s actually an expected part of personal due diligence. Before dating, voting for, buying from, or hiring someone, from a CFO to a one-time babysitter, we take a ten second trip to the web.
Online reputations make things happen and they keep things from happening. They pave the way for some new connections and block others before they begin. So in case you find yourself on the receiving end of a search (and you will, if you haven’t already), how can you make sure that your online reputation stays intact, professional, and positive?
Reputation Control: Three Steps
First, control what you put out there. The most likely source of any content attached to your name is you. If you don’t want something on the internet, for Pete’s sake, don’t post it on the internet. If trust in “privacy settings” or the obscurity of a fake name are the only things protecting your confidential info, nude photos, or snarky remarks about your boss, you’re not using the web very wisely. Don’t be the sad person shouting “That was supposed to be my SECRET blog!” There are no secret blogs. If you don’t want it seen, don’t post it.
Second, Google yourself frequently. It might sound conceited, but knowledge is power. If you see something unsavory that might damage your reputation, contact the poster. Don’t patronize businesses, clubs or groups that publish your registration info after you’ve asked them not to. And bad reviews or negative comments can often be taken down if you negotiate with the person who wrote them. If you can’t get a poster to take something down, talk to the webmaster or organization that controls the site content.
Third, cultivate positive buzz. Make an effort to foster good news with your name attached. And be sure that your Facebook page, blog, website and Twitter feed all make you proud. Keep your personal brand in mind, and self-edit carefully. SevenAtoms can help. Contact our experts for advice.
Image By: y0mbo