“Your Reputation defines who you are and it is your responsibility to protect and manage it”
Your Reputation has become more important than it has been ever before, not because you have just become a celebrity. But because now there are so many ways in which it can be damaged. Without you knowing your name or your reputation would be in discussion, Now at this moment.
People might be searching your name on Google or Bing or Yahoo. Do you know what they might be finding. Do you remember about a comment you made a while ago on a blog post that has been creating quite a reaction? May be not, but do you think that might slowly start defining your image on the internet.
The social media and social websites are where people talk whether you are in there or not, there is a chance you might be a topic. So rule number one to guard your reputation is to be involved where people talk, or the social media to be precise. You have to be out there and be connected if you want to guard your reputation. I agree that not all can be doing this and it is time consuming. But having your presence is important to know what happening around.
Do you have a Reputation?
Seriously! there are many people who think this way, because they are not a celebrity or not in business, but that is changing. Reputation is not a celebrity status, it is an individual common man issue. Assuming you are not well known there are two main reasons you should still care about Your Reputation
- You are not well known today does not mean you will not be well known tomorrow
- Your identity will move online tomorrow whether you want it or not
That being said business and celebrities who are more likely to get their reputation hacked more often and severely than the common guy might hire a company that does this for them. But what about me and you who are known to only a known number of people in the world. How do you go about and manage your reputation so you are both building and protecting your reputation Here are a few steps that are quite cost effective but very effective in building and managing your reputation
Your Reputation is Your Name
Do you have a domain with your full name like fullname.com. This in my opinion is one of the most important action to start with because people will search you on Google by what you are known. For example I registered http://www.vinodnarayan.com a while back and blog actively, now after a few years you search me on any search engine by my my full name, the first few hits are me. May be the name is not that common and that helped me a bit. But if I had not taken this step, someone would have because I am not the only person with that name in the whole world.
Think how you would feel tomorrow when you search your name and you don’t figure in the first twenty pages. Interestingly my Google Analytics results show that there are a growing number of people who come to my site searching my full name, never thought someone would do that.
Now I don’t carry a card, I ask people to search my name on Google, which I think is cool!
Your full name on Social Sites
It is not necessary to have your face on every social site that is there, but you should have your presence (as yourself and not pseudo names) in the major ones. I think primarily you will need Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to start with. There was a time when people preferred a unique catchy handle over their name, but that has changed.
I did not do this to get a shorter name and used vinodn instead of my full name and now I check before I wrote this post and I cant get LinkedIn url with my complete name.
I also don’t have my gmail with my full name
Setting up Google Alerts to know Your Reputation
Setting up a Google Alerts on your name and have that send you an email or through reader is important to see if you are being referenced anywhere. You might think why someone would talk about you. But you would be surprised by the fact that you are known and come in discussions with many people. If people were to talk about you or reference you in real life, they would do so and forget, but online if someone types your name and then some content it remains there. Now you can understand why celebrities and business have to take reputation seriously.
Finally Be Transparent, Be Good
This for some might sound silly but the fact remains that all this technology and social connections make life and the world transparent. To maintain any sort of reputation, you should first be able to stand by everything you say. This means what you have said in past as well. You should refrain from gossiping as they always say. Don’t make a statement that you are not sure about.
But life can come in between and we might blurt out things that we wished we should not have. So being a gentleman and owning up can take you a long way. Also understanding that individually it is not as important to be perfect as it is to be the person identified by your own words. You can argue, you can and should have an opinion, and even tell someone is wrong when they are, but you do that because you believe so and not because you want to tarnish someone else’s reputation. So the final thought of managing your reputation is acknowledging that others have one too whether they are online or not. Be good and build Your Reputation