Tracking Your Reputation Online

The New York Post did a very interesting article last spring entitled “How to Protect Your Online Rep.”  Chris Erickson, the author, pointed out that just checking your name in Google and cleaning up your Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking accounts aren’t enough anymore.  Employers are looking deeper and farther.  Through the wonders of social networking (Web 2.0 to us), employers are able to check out the friends you keep, the forums and groups you like or take part in, virtually anything you list or choices you make while networking online.  It’s a scary world folks.

So what can you do about it?  According to Erikson, use (but don’t trust) privacy settings.  They are, at best, a stop gap,  not a fail safe.  Make sure you check out you name, email address, blog names, etc. in Google, Bing, Yahoo, and places like Zoominfo. You may be surprised at some of the places you find your information.  And for pity sake, don’t assume that once you’ve had a job interview, you’re home free.  If you tweet what a dumb idiot one of your interviewers was, that person will find out about it, trust me.  Even on the off chance he or she is not into social networking, their friends will be.  Be discreet.  You might not like that word, but when you are hunting for or trying to keep a new (or old) job, discretion is your friend.

It’s worth taking a look at the original New York Post article. Just click “How to Protect Your Online Rep” by Chris Erickson.

I also tracked down several books on the subject that the Newton Free Library now owns. These are:

Radically Transparent: Monitoring and Managing Reputations Online by Andy Beal and Judy Strauss (mentioned in Erickson’s original article).

Wild West: How to Protect and Restore Your Online Reputation on the Untamed Social Frontier by Michael Fertik and David Thompson.

Do It Yourself Online Reputation Management: A Step-by-Step Guide to Building or Repairing Your Online Reputation by Herbert Tabin and Craig Agranoff.  If you haven’t got a clue how to do any of this, start with this book.  Some of the reviews in Amazon complained that this work was too basic.  Sounds good to me.

Manage Your Online Reputation by Tony Wilson.

Good luck.

“Let’s be careful out there.”  Stay safe online and don’t do anything foolish.  You don’t need to have the added stress of identity theft piled on top of looking for a job.  And you will be tempted.  Don’t forget, there is always someone ready to pounce when you make an exception  – just this one time.

vea/20 September 2011
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass.
Applying for Job LibGuide


3 Responses to Tracking Your Reputation Online

  1. Lee says:

    I am happy that this conversation is happening. It is an important one for all, but particularly for young people who are not thinking about the double edge sword of the internet. Once comments from sites appear on Google and other search engines, it’s there for a long time.

    We need to keep this conversation going because unfortunately, there are a lot of naive folks that don’t realize the impact of their actions.

  2. I had a conversation with my teenagers not long ago about their online reputations and how employers were looking into social profiles to see how prospective employees were interacting online and they were stunned to hear that what they did online could be made visible to potential employers.

    One of the “kids” was “how far can they creep”? as though the employer a monster of some kind.

    I see things posted online all the time that I cringe at reading. So much of what we do is open to public scrutiny now. In a way, it is creepy. At the same time, it is in our control to be vigilant with what we post. Thus, we learn self-control.

  3. Caron says:

    This is good advice. On LinkedIn, in some of the job-related forums, people say things that make me cringe. That’s another area that makes me wonder if people realize their attitude is showing.

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