The Internet has been around for decades and by now most people realize that what happens online, stays online. However reputation related dilemmas are becoming more and more prevalent because of the openness of the Internet and the fact that most people do not realize the permanence of items posted online.
Whether it's a photo, video, complaint, check-in, bad press or a simple status update, it is important to fully and completely realize that what happens online will presumably stay online- for parents, bosses, kids, (and even grandkids) as well as the rest of the world, to see.
In all its magnificence, the worldwide web can be amazing and help you connect and prosper or it can be detrimental and cause your downfall. I may be exaggerating this a bit but having a spotless online reputation is vital to the success of current, past and future relationships, career opportunities, and so much more.
How to clean up your online reputation:
- Be a private person...at least online. You wouldn't air your dirty laundry for your neighbors and friends to see, so why keep your profile public for complete strangers to view? You can begin managing your online reputation by ensuring that the whole world does not have access to your private information on social networking sites.
- Google Yourself. Seriously, try it. What type of information pops up? Becoming aware of the type of info the entire world has access to when searching for you online is essential for managing your online reputation. (But make sure you're not logged in if you have a Google account to ensure that personalized search results are not displayed.) Now that you've seen a sample of the info accessible to anyone with an Internet connection, take it a step further by setting up a system that alerts you every time someone mentions you online. Google alerts is an amazing tool for the management of online reputations.
- When you can't delete, you must compete. If you google yourself and find negative search results, you have two options. First, you can attempt to contact the host of the website where the damaging content is published and request that it be removed. If this doesn't work and you realize you can't delete, then you must compete by publishing your own content online- things that you actually want people to see. Creating a Google profile, LinkedIn profile, twitter account, and so on, with your real name attached to each will ensure that people searching for you will find the info you put out there. The purpose and intent of this is to rank high in the search results which will also push the negative sites lower in SERPs, making the bad information difficult to find and the good info easily accessible.
The bottom line: Managing your online reputation is no easy feat but taking proactive measures to ensure a positive reputation will, without a doubt, pay off in the long run.