What is an online reputation?
Just like any social interaction, you develop a reputation for who you are based on your thoughts, opinions, comments and actions. Reputations in society change over time and can fade as the world moves on.
The internet is like a giant audit log of all the things you’ve done online. Be it good or bad, you can be sure that somewhere on a server, and probably hidden in a google search result, is information about you. Hopefully this is all good, but you may have regretted previous comments, and maybe people have been talking about you and their opinions have been captured forever in the online archives.
So what can you do?
Google yourself. Search for your name in speechmarks (e.g. “Joe Bloggs” ) and include some other key words such as the place you live, where you work, your date of birth, schools you went to. You might be suprised with what you find.
Check privacy settings. Social networking sites all have the ability to restrict who can view and see your profile. This extends out to search engines who will crawl your social pages and make the information available in their search results. Make sure you know who can see your posts, and that you are comfortable with the opinions you are expressing to that audience. Online forums are harder to control the privacy settings on as these tend to be generic for the whole site, so….
Think before you post. Stop and sense check yourself. What are you writing, why are you writing it? are you attention seeking? are you already in a bad mood? what reaction do you want from your post. Whatever you write could exist in cyberspace for all eternity. Make sure it adds some value to the existence of humanity.
Get rid of old stuff. If you no longer use an account, delete it. The last thing you would want is for that to be hijacked and have some moron start posting stuff on your behalf. Anything you’ve written in the past will also be erased, so remove it whilst you can still remember the password to your account.