Now that you own your name across the Internet, it’s time to define who you are. Be yourself, only better, we like to say. Sounds simple enough. Remember, this is about you and your personal reputation, not your business.
Google searches these days pull in news, web, pictures and social media. When was the last time you checked Google Images? You might be surprised to see the number of images of you that are being pulled from social media sites. If you’ve been tagged, or if you’ve used a picture as a profile shot, it’s fair game in a search.
Be aware! There’s nowhere to run and nowhere you can hide, so it’s critically important to be aware, at all times, that every move you make reflects on your reputation. You have a choice to define who you are, or let others do it for you. Take control.
Be Proactive! Lines blur these days between our personal and professional lives. Business associates friend us on Facebook and friends ask us to connect on LinkedIn. Be proactive in posting and sharing positive information about yourself and about your business. Make sure your Facebook settings require your permission before you can be tagged in a post or a photo. Ask friends to remove posts that in any way negatively impact you, or better still, stay out of situations that might generate such posts.
Be vigilant. We talked in the first article in this series about using broad search engines such as Addict-o-matic, SocialMention, Technorati and Yasni, in addition to a Google search, to see what is being said about you. It’s important to periodically rerun your search. First, you will see that your efforts at proactively posting positive content are paying off but more importantly you will see if anything objectionable has been posted. The sooner you can spot the negative, the easier it will be to clean it up.
Mark Twain is attributed with saying -- “A lie can travel halfway round the world while the truth is putting on its shoe.” – and that was long before the Internet! If, despite all your best efforts, objectionable information turns up that threatens your personal reputation, have no fear. There are many steps that you can take to lessen the impact or even eliminate the information.
We own it, we’ve defined it – next we’ll defend it.
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