I subscribe to a blog called I’ve Been Mugged with George Jenkins which deals with protecting again Identity Theft. He recently posted a reference to a July 1, 2009 Forbes Article called How to Protect Your Online Reputation. You can read the full article by Amanda Berlin at http://www.forbes.com/2009/07/01/online-reputation-protect-leadership-careers-networking.html. The message is an important one for individuals. But it also applies to businesses and professionals such as doctors, lawyers, dentists, accountants, financial planners, etc.
We all need to guard our personal reputations on the web to protect ourselves from false accusations and to present ourselves in the most positive light, for future job opportunities, building important relationships and finding help, when we need it. Failure to pay attention in this area could damage our future job searches, personal and business relationships, the ability to get credit, and even the search for a mate.
The Forbes article tells us that we have to be aware of how we appear on the web when someone uses a search engine like Google with our name. The results represent our individual persona on the web. In addition, what we say about ourselves on social networking sites and what we post on blogs or forums, is also very public and part of our image on the web. Having nothing about ourselves on the web is also a message.
The Forbes article makes several suggestions how to ensure you are caring for your reputation on line.
1. Google yourself
2. Sign up with Social Networking Sites
3. Register your name as a Domain and create your own webpage with your particulars on it.
4. Set up a Newsfeed to let you know if your name appears anywhere, as it happens.
5. Move fast and be aggressive if you spot something that is inaccurate about you on the web, to get it reversed. Crowd out bad articles with good ones.
6. Set up a profile of yourself up on Google with a profile. Google profiles can direct what Google will show first
The Forbes article concludes with the idea that your name is your brand and that you should immediately take some of these actions to protect yourself.
Now think of how important this same concept is to a business. Just think of the negative impact of a bad reputation highlighted on the web by unhappy customers.
I welcome your comments.