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How Can I Control My Online Reputation?

In this digital age, our online reputation is often as important as our offline one. Sometimes they are indecipherable. With cyberbullying on the rise and identity theft rampant, many people are now realizing that their personal reputation isn't the only one that they should be concerned about.


Do you have people in your life who could be considered wild cards? How closely are you connected with them? Could their online behavior affect your life or reputation? These are questions people are asking every day, often without realizing that there are steps you can take to easily improve your reputation and minimize your risk of threats.


Search Yourself Weekly

Be aware of what's already out there. Search your name and the names of your family members weekly in order to see if anything changes. It is key to do this often, because often catching an issue early (like an accidentally shared naked photo) might prevent it from being spread across the office (where it will never be deleted).

Manage Your Privacy Settings

When you share something, be aware of who can see it. You can choose to share items with only certain friends or with everyone, but remember when you share it with everyone, this item will be permanently logged in your digital archive and will be viewable to just about anyone who wants to access it. Even if they don't know you well or are considering you for a job.

Assume That Nothing is Private

Even if you finely monitor privacy settings and only use social networks like SnapChat, keep in mind that in the end nothing is private anymore. Websites get hacked daily and even SnapChat was hit very hard. That tasteful nude you're sending to your significant other might not seem so tasteful to your boss or principal.

Be Aware of Loose Cannons

Are you friends with a bunch of people who could be considered loose cannons? Is your digital reputation linked to them? Maybe you should consider distancing yourself or unfriending them.

Disaster Control

If something is released that is negative or if you already have a bad search result, there is often no hiding it. The best tactic is generally prevention. However, you can try to create as much positive content about yourself as possible to drown out the bad. Link this good content to other good content and often search engines will elevate this new content over the bad content in the search results. Given time, the bad content might dissipate altogether.