Lesson from Paris – Manage your online Reputation
On my drive home tonight from a radio interview where we were discussing how young people can manage their online reputation, it got me thinking that I must write up a blog post on some thoughts and tips. They might just help prevent some young people from making some very big mistakes when it comes to things they say online, comments they post or images they share. I’m thinking of Paris Brown, the Teenage Youth Police Commissioner who was forced to quit over ‘offensive’ tweets she made when she was only 14. I always tell young people I speak to, things can have a habit of coming back to haunt us. Hindsight is a great thing.
Now my first bit of advice or ‘words of wisdom’ might come be a bit of shock to some people reading this blog. Ok so here it comes, are you ready?
If you’re going to post something online be sure you’re confortable with putting it up on a massive Billboard – yup that’s right a massive Billboard in every town and city across the world. When it comes to the Internet I see it as ‘World of Mouth’ because a single tweet or Facebook post has the potential to reach every corner of the world in a matter of seconds. Remember – What you post online becomes public information and is searchable. This is no exaggeration.
But.. I hear you say, Wayne I would never post anything, which would offend anyone, not even in the slightest.. But here’s the thing. A recent research report Teens, Social Media & Privacy 2013 found that ‘59% of teens have deleted or edited something which they posted in the past’. Another study carried out in 2012 into the online behaviour of 2,000 Over 18s found ‘a third wish they had kept photographs or personal or biographical details to themselves’
So tell us , how can future superstars of the world protect and keep our online reputation in tiptop shape, – well there are a few bits of advice, which might just help you out ;
1: Keep your Personal Information Private – When it comes to keeping stuff private on social networks it’s harder than you think. And you would be right in thinking you might need a PHD with platforms such as Facebook changing the rules about how you can protect yourself and your content. That being said there is no excuse for doing nothing about your privacy settings. Pay attention to the content, which you upload to social, network sites and adjust the privacy settings accordingly to suit who you want to be able to view and potentially share It on. Keep an eye out for images which others post of you that you might be unhappy with or embarrassed about and remove the tag which identifies you in it.
2: Search Yourself – I do this a couple of times a month. Not in a needy way or to stroke my ego (I’ve a big ego) just kidding. But to see what information major search engines such as Google return on – it can be as simple as typing your name into the engine and see what results come back, remember also to do an image search. A worthwhile way to keep an eye on new content, which is added, is to set up a Google Alert on your name, which will mail you a notification, once anything is added.
3: The Internet is like an elephant. It never forgets.. You might remember I highlighted at the start of this blog about the Youth Police Commissioner posting some unfavourable tweets when she was just 14 years old. As you know those comments came back to haunt her when she was 17, just around the time she landed a £15,000 a year job which could have opened doors for her around the world!. Bummer right? Well the thing is, the Internet is like a library. It catalogues everything we post online into an archive and it only takes someone to carry out some basic key word searches with your name, voila up comes information on you. So keep this in mind as it’s now common for your future employer or a recruiter to just check out your online reputation before deciding to hire you or not. Could mean the difference between the job of a lifetime or stacking shelves. Not that there’s anything wrong with stacking shelves. If you like shelf stacking.
It’s easy in a digital world to shoot yourself in the foot online and not manage your online reputation, and the repercussions can be brutal. On the positive side though, it’s all down to you. You’re in control. In this world reputation counts for a lot, is difficult to build and easy to lose so look after it like your most prized possession. Which is probably your iphone. Look after it like your iphone.