The art of defensive Googling – why your online reputation matters
Anyone that has been involved in digital for more than two minutes is acquainted with the art of self googling. Whether that is for your own name. Or for your brand. As we’ve progressed in digital marketing, defensive googling has become more and more prevalent in order to take care of your online reputation. Setting up alerts for your own name was and is a good way to see who is talking about you. This again applies to your personal brand and also the brand you might represent professionally.
So how does this relate to cyberbullying you might ask? Well, cyberbullying is where it starts – if you actively participate in, or in some cases are a passive bystander (in the conversation, group or app) in cases of cyberbullying, then that action is basically on record if you like forever. It becomes a part of your digital footprint. So the first lesson there is don’t participate in cyberbullying!!
For this generation of school leavers, at aged 17, when they are thinking about going to university or perhaps are thinking about applying for their first job, they are going to be subject to some of the most detailed scrutiny. For any of us over the age of 30 years old, if we think back to when you were 17 years old, much like todays youth, we probably didn’t really care too much about what was going to happen tomorrow, let alone 4 years down the line right? But for this generation, they need to be aware of their actions online and how those actions, at aged 13, might actually come back to haunt them at age 17 when they are applying to university, or at 21 when they are applying for their dream job at the company they have always wanted to work for.
If they haven’t been considerate of their online reputation, and what they have been putting out there for all to see, they may well end up in the same situation as Paris Brown. Paris was the UK’s youngest youth police commissioner – at 17 she was the first person to be appointed in the position, a full time employment position with a wage of £15,000 or 90,000AED per annum. It was a great honour and a great achievement. The sad ending to this is that 3 days into her job she had to resign because of some tweets she had tweeted aged 14-16 that were deemed to have negative connotations to various segments of society. Her online reputations was interrogated as soon as she was appointed and as a result of what as found, she lost her job.
We have all said things we have regretted that is human nature, but when we put it in writing on a social platform, it’s there forever and in many cases, whatever context it was written in, is lost. The tweet, post, blog, comment sits out there on the internet as a unique individual piece of content. It forms part of your digital footprint and can be taken and twisted to mean something completely different to the original meaning. Unless that is, you start to consciously think about your digital footprint and your online reputation.
At BTCB we firmly believe in the Stop Think Post mantra – don’t post in anger or as a knee jerk reaction. Take the time to think about what you are about to put out there on the internet that will form a part of how people perceive you. As per a recent survey by Microsoft – only 30% of job seekers worry about their online reputation and yet 70% of recruiters in the US have rejected an applicant based on what they have found as soon as they Googled their name.
So what should you do? Well here’s some tips;
1. Stop Think Post – make this your mantra and consciously think about any new content you are going to put out there online.
2. Setup a Google Alert for your own name – you can do it for your company as well if you are in charge of your company’s online reputation management.
3. Set up a TalkWalker alert as well as Google alerts
4. Do a monthly audit of your name. So just type it into Google and see what comes up. Don’t forget to search images as well.
5. Keep your private information private – check your privacy settings on your social media accounts and change the settings. (1 billion Facebook users and over 25% of them have never touched their privacy settings!!! Default setting is open for the entire world to see!)
6. Think about how you can look to create positive content around yourself and/or your brand. Get good content out there to pre-empt any attacks or a momentary lack of discipline.
The advent of social media has changed our lives and the way we use the internet forever. But as always, we at BTCB are very pro internet. We want everyone to use this amazing tool safely and for their benefit. So think about your online reputation. Think about starting to take care of it. And think about protecting it. Do it now and take a pro active approach to your online reputation – it really does matter!