15 Steps to Manage Your Reputation Online
It is a fact that whatever you do online leaves behind a digital trail that can come back to bite you later. However, it may only seem like this applies to criminals and terrorists while everyone else enjoys the freedom of being anonymous. But even if you don’t have anything to hide, you should still take steps to protect yourself. After all, you are entitled to whatever privacy you want.
Therefore, it is imperative that you manage your reputation online. This means being proactive about what people can find out about you when searching for your name in a search engine. This article will cover some of the steps you can take to manage your digital presence online.
1. Remove Your Personal Information
One step that you can take is to remove your personal details from websites where they are displayed without permission. The first thing you should do is go through directories and sites you have links or associations with, such as LinkedIn, Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc., and remove any information which may be compromising from those websites.
Then you should proceed to the other sites where your information is available, such as your blog, corporate website, etc., and remove any personal data which might be displayed on them. In addition to this, it would be best if you could remove as much of your social data as possible so that people cannot find out who your friends and family are, along with other details such as where you live and work.
2. Get Rid of Online Gatherings of Your Personal Details
You need to get rid of data gatherings from job or school websites, for instance, recruitment sites like LinkedIn, Monster, etc., alumni websites, and academic websites like Research Gate and Scribd. In some cases, it is possible to remove all of your details from these sites through a settings page or by contacting the website administrator.
However, you cannot do anything about the social media accounts you may have had in college, such as Facebook groups and pages that might still be active. In fact, you should carefully review the privacy policies of all your social media accounts and make sure that they are set to private or at least remove any unwanted details from them which may go against your personal policy.
3. Monitor Your Online Presence
Suppose some information about yourself is available on a website where you do not want it to be displayed. In that case, the only way to get it removed is by contacting the website’s administrator directly. You can also use Google Alerts or Talkwalker alerts to monitor your online presence and look out for any information about yourself that you don’t want public.
This may take some time; however, by checking once in a while (around once a month), you should be able to stay on top of any new information that is about yourself which has been posted publicly.
4. Clean Up Your Social Media Accounts
In order to manage your reputation online, it would help if you could clean up your social media accounts from ads and extraneous information that may have been included automatically by the website or a third party. You can do this by going to the account settings and clicking on ads and posts you don’t want to be displayed, as well as monitoring which of your friends have been included in these accounts.
In some cases, it may be necessary to create a new social media account for your family or work if you cannot remove yourself from an existing account. It may seem unnecessary, but it would take some time to clean up an existing social media account, which would be better spent monitoring the new ones you create.
5. Limit Your Internet Activity
Another thing that you can do to manage your reputation online is by limiting how much information about yourself is available publicly on the internet. The first step you should take is to set up private browsing on your web browser so that no history is recorded of the sites you visit, which will prevent third parties from gathering information about you.
Another simple step that may help manage your reputation online is to use a virtual private network (VPN) service when browsing or downloading something. It will hide your actual IP address, which can be used to discover information about where you are located.
6. Remove Your Name from the Phone Book
Believe it or not, phone books are still a thing. And if you have a traditional landline, odds are you’ve been included in them. While removing yourself from phone books will not stop all third parties from finding out your personal details, it would definitely limit how many people can find them online. Therefore, you should remove yourself (and other family members) from the phone book so that any online searches for your contact information will be more difficult to find.
7. Review Your Personal Details Concerning Privacy Policies
Ensure that you are completely aware of your data and know how it may be used against you. For instance, if there are specific details on social media that you don’t want other people to know, make sure that your privacy settings are set accordingly.
8. Keep Your Personal Details Private (and Secure)
Your personal details should be kept private and secure at all times. When signing up for online services, it is crucial that you do not share any information that would allow others to identify or contact you. If you do not want your name or contact information to be released, then keep them away from public posts or comments that you make online for this reason.
9. Keep Your Personal Details Off Public Search Engines
While “vanity” search engines like Google can be beneficial when trying to find out more about yourself (especially if you want to find old pictures), it is essential not to let too much information slip. Make sure that you are using the strictest privacy settings on all the websites you visit. Also, remember to adjust your social media settings correctly so that people can’t use public search engines to find out more about you than necessary.
10. Keep Your Personal Details Off Wikipedia
Some people edit pages on Wikipedia about complete strangers, which could show up in the search results. While editing your own page is not encouraged (and you can get banned for doing so), it would help to monitor other articles containing information about you and remove them if necessary to keep your details off Wikipedia.
11. Keep Your Personal Details Off Forums and Q&A Websites
It is important to remember that no matter how carefully you choose your username, it still could be traced back to you if the person behind the forum posts personal details about themselves that can be used as a reference point for comparison (i.e., using their real name or location). Therefore, you should also ensure that you do not answer any questions in a public forum (or on Q&A websites like Quora) if the person asking them knows your name and other identifiable details.
12. Keep Your Personal Details Off Company Directories
Believe it or not, some people create profiles for complete strangers on company directories. While these details will only be seen by other employees, it may still be possible for them to find out more about you than necessary.
13. Keep Your Personal Details Off Professional Networking Sites
While many people claim that they use LinkedIn as a way to keep in touch with former colleagues and existing business contacts, it may still be possible for your details to be discovered by the wrong person. The best thing you can do here is limit who can see your profile and ensure that all of your privacy settings are configured correctly.
14. Keep Your Personal Details Off Employee Monitoring Websites
Some companies monitor their employees’ internet traffic, which could accidentally reveal personal details about you. While this would be viewed as an invasion of privacy by many, it is becoming more common for employers to monitor their workers’ online activities to avoid legal issues (and loss of productivity), so it may be best to take precautions against this possibility.
15. Keep Your Personal Details Off Social Bookmarking Sites
Social bookmarking websites like Delicious and StumbleUpon are not the best places to keep your personal details, as it would be possible for strangers to find out more about you than necessary. Make sure that you adjust your privacy settings accordingly before using these sites to share web pages or images with others.
Final Thoughts on Managing Your Online Reputation
Keeping your details away from the public eye is very important if you want to keep online searches for yourself and people looking for information about you under control. Remember that what you post on social media can significantly impact how other people can find out more about you, so be sure not to give away any information that you’re uncomfortable sharing. If you can remember these tips and tricks, you should avoid making any serious mistakes when it comes to online reputation management.
If you need help managing your reputation online, contact us at Stature Optics Management today. We are a professional Reputation Management firm that can help you create a positive online presence for yourself and your business. Contact us today to get started, and remember to check out our blog for more articles about how you can control your online reputation.