Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
SOCIAL MEDIA / AUG. 02, 2013
version 6, draft 6

Managing your Online Reputation

Have you Googled yourself lately?

Social media has become one of the most important networking tools in the world, and being active on social media sites can benefit you or your business greatly. It is important for any business or business person to be prominent in the social media scene. The problem with social media is as quickly as it can spread the good word, it can also spread the bad. In fact, it can be very dangerous to your reputation and ruin your chances of getting a job easily. It is very important to constantly be on top of managing your online reputation. From day to day, privacy policies change, terms of use change, and more social media platforms are created. If you aren’t aware of your online presence you can run into some serious problems.

The most important social media platforms you have to be aware of are Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. As four of the most popular social media platforms on earth – they are very powerful and widespread.

Twitter

The good thing about Twitter is that it is fairly safe, and anonymous; you aren’t forced to provide any personal information. Just because this is the case though, doesn’t mean that we don’t. It is very easy to use Twitter as an outlet to vent or state your opinions, but be aware, stating political or religious opinions can be considered in different ways by different people. If an employer is considering you for a position and reads your Twitter page, they can make a quick judgment on you which can ruin your chances of getting the job. It is also dangerous to post negative status’s when you feel the need to vent about something. Nobody wants to hire somebody who is negative and makes private issues public. The problem with Twitter is that most users often link it to Facebook or even LinkedIn. Unless you monitor your every move, this is a big mistake.

Facebook

Facebook, for example, might seem private but it’s not. Though you might pay attention to who you are adding to your friends list, you can’t forget that friends of friends might be able to view your profile. Facebook has made it very complicated at this point to make your profile completely private. The privacy settings are complex and specific. Not to mention, constantly being updated. It is important to stay on top of your privacy settings and pay attention to what people can and cannot see.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is fairly private, but you have to understand that it is a Professional Network. LinkedIn is created specifically for business networking. The users that are viewing your profile are future employers/employees or partners. There is no space for messing around on LinkedIn. Be aware that even if you have a perfectly professional LinkedIn page, Facebook or Instagram can break down that professional image in a matter of seconds if your privacy settings aren’t in place.

Instagram

Instagram is the most dangerous platform in my opinion. Unless your profile is completely private, anyone can use your photos. It is even stated in the terms of use, “Users may search for, see, use, or share any of your content you make publically available through the service”. That’s right. Any user that can see your photo has full permission to use it in any way they want. There are also several websites that extract pictures from Instagram and post them all over their site (as recently brought to my attention by MY BOSS!) This makes your photos much more widely spread and available than just on the Instagram platform alone. Bear in mind that once posted, anyone can save your photos and therefore making it impossible for that embarrassing photo to ever become obsolete on the web. 

So we have stated the problems – now what? If you are already feeling like your reputation is in danger, it is not too late.  Here’s what to do:

  • Change all of your privacy settings, and read through the privacy policy of the platforms you are using.
  • Go through your profile. Read through all sections of all your social media profiles from a potential employer’s point of view. Anything you think would affect your professional reputation – delete!
  • Google yourself. When you see what comes up, and judging by where the photos or information came from, you can alter your settings to ensure that you make it impossible for these websites to share your photos legally.

It is also important after your little clean up to maintain your online reputation. Here’s how:

  • Never vent through social media. It makes you look negative and let’s face it, nobody wants to work with negative Nancy.
  • Know where to draw the line – be aware of what you are posting, the consequences of what you are posting, and how it can be perceived.
  • Review privacy settings and privacy policies often. They are often updated and it is important to be on top of what information of yours is being shared, how, and why.
  • Google yourself regularly. This will give you an idea of what your current or future employers have access to in terms of personal information.

Your online reputation is not a joke. In this day and age, employers take online images very seriously. Effectively, an image can make or break you and your career. Take advantage of the benefits of social media, but always be aware and maintain what is being shared.

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