Last summer I wrote a post titled “Have You Googled Yourself Lately” which sparked a little conversation. It’s a catchy title and a pretty informative read that talks about the importance of your online trail – your brand. How you are perceived in the eyes of folks online. It also gives a few great social listening tools out there to see what folks are finding out about you through what you’ve allowed them to see online.
We joked about this on a recent Twitter Chat and someone stated “I hear that causes blindness.” And we all laughed.
Laughing aside, it’s important to understand that folks are using things like Google Search or other mediums to find out about you and what you’re sharing online. Whether it’s for a potential job to which you’ve applied, perhaps you’ve filed for FMLA and your manager actually wants to see if you’re in Cabo for the week, if you’ve recently applied for a loan and your bank wants to check you, or if you’ve filed an insurance claim for disability and you’re your insurance company wants to make sure you’re not off skiing somewhere – folks are starting to use the internet to look you up.
That being said, it’s important for all of us to see how others are viewing us and make sure that you are being represented properly and protecting yourself and your personal brand.
I’ve heard recently that because of Google’s algorithm, for example, there may be things that others see about you online that even you’re not seeing about yourself. But there are certain things you can do to protect your online personal brand whether you are in job search mode or simply concerned about how folks are judging you, online.
- If you have a Google account, you can set up Google Alerts where you can get daily or weekly email notifications when your brand name (or your name, etc) shows up online. This is a great way to see where you’re popping up online and it’s free!
- Google yourself (or use another search engine) often to see what’s actually getting out there and what others are seeing.
- You can make your social accounts (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) private and change your settings – but why not simply behave yourself online. Most folks these days want to see your personality, interests and other things to see your human side. And, Recruiters and Hiring Managers are looking on these very same sites to fill key positions at their companies. See this Infographic about how Recruiters are using Facebook’s new Graph Search.
- Everything you say online can and may be held against you. Here’s a great Infographic on managing your online reputation and some key things you can do to protect yourself. Take them to heart.
- There are a few settings within Facebook that will allow you to remain semi-private. Here’s some info on the new privacy changes and what you can do to protect those privacy’s. Don’t fully disclose your birthday, street address and other information that others may potential steal and ruin your online reputation.
- Don’t allow third party apps (especially within Facebook and Twitter) access to your information. When using these games and third-party apps within these platforms you are allowing them free reign to inside information and this can be damaging.
- Don’t look at porn. If you simply find that you must do this – use an alter ego (a different name) so that these trails can’t come back to you. I see folks all the time on Facebook looking at naughty things and it’s posting to their Facebook walls. Just don’t do it. Go to the Library or something and use their computers
- Think before you post. Don’t post status updates or pictures when you’re not being responsible or when you’re mad at someone. This is always the best advice to live by. These things can come back to bite you on the butt later on.
In the end, if you’re using social media and being aware of what you’re showing, what your’e posting and not making bad judgement’s then you should have no worries about what’s being found about you.
Go ahead and try it, Google yourself right now (I know you want to) and see what comes up. You may be a little embarrassed but I promise you won’t go blind.
Photo Credit: Sodahead