LET’S TALK #SOCIAL | How to safeguard your online reputation
From the pages of The Manila Times
Have you googled yourself lately? Search in incognito mode or a private window in your browser. Try searching yourself on Facebook or Twitter. Do you worry that the first page of Google search engine page results (SERPs) is irrelevant, negative or dominated by somebody with your name? If you answered yes, read on and start promoting positive and relevant content.
Last week, Senator Vicente “Tito” C. Sotto III requested Inquirer.net to take down articles linking him to the rape case and the untimely death of ‘80s star Pepsi Paloma. Sotto said “these kinds of unverified articles have been negatively affecting my reputation for the longest time.” One of the perils of such publicity is the Streisand Effect, where the intention to remove a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely. John Oliver points it out in his show “The Right to be forgotten” that the “the Internet is like quicksand. The more aggressively you fight to remove yourself from it, the deeper you’re going to sink down into it.“ Sotto might as well delete the internet because what goes online, stays online.
There are three things to check regularly: 1) posts that you wrote about yourself ; 2) posts that others wrote about you and 3) posts by others pretending to be you.
Eleven years ago, 50 percent on the first page about myself were negative content. Someone attempted to besmirch my reputation because I defended a woman from being accused of a scam. With the help of blog posts to create content to bury the negative result(s) down coupled with online and offline activities, I was able to regain 90 percent positive SERPs.
What if someone writes negatively about you?
Weigh out your options if a reaction is the right way to go or to just let it be. I don’t normally address the person saying negative things about me. Explaining myself in the same medium that was used to attack me is one way to address negative stories. So, if the person blogged about me, I write a counter post on my blog by pointing out the wrongs and falsehoods. If it is done on Twitter then I answer on Twitter. If it is done on Facebook, then I post on my Facebook.
Some of the negative content online is illegal such as the use of defamatory language; reporting false information and potentially damaging your reputation. Twitter, Facebook, and other social media networks have community guidelines so some of these posts can be removed by reporting them. If the action falls in any of the crime specified under the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, then seek the help of the authorities or a legal counsel.
Now, if it is a valid criticism perhaps you can write a post acknowledging it and explain how you would go about to rectify what was pointed out.
Safeguarding your online reputation
Before negative stories dominate the SERPs, there are ways of managing your online reputation other than requesting a takedown. One must be proactive in safeguarding one’s online reputation.
Decide on the image you intend to project in your public profile or personal brand.
If you are online, you already created a personal brand for yourself. Check for yourself by searching on Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks and see what is written about you. All of these information form part of your personal brand. Ask yourself: “What do you wish for people to associate with you when they think of your name?”. If you are an advocate or an industry expert, mention it in your profile. Gaining the trust and respect of you and your work is the most important thing than any other online reputation management tip.
Claim your name
This person who wrote negative things about me used my full name in blogger.com so that is why those articles ranked high in SERPs. I countered it by using my full name plus my middle name . If you can afford it, register your name (yourname.com) at a domain registry service from ICANN-Accredited Registrars and on blogger.com. Be sure to register your social media profiles at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. I also use about.me which acts like an online calling card. Once you’ve claimed your social media profiles, only post messages that are consistent with your public profile.
Contribute things that are relevant or of professional interest to your public profile
When I check my SERPs first page today, it shows my Twitter, two of my blogs, LinkedIN, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and two media articles. If you don’t have a blog , try to post on your social media networks regularly. You can also do a guest post at a blog or contribute to online sites so your good name is out there. Remember someone can write unfavorably about you so it is best that you define yourself through your public posts.
Monitor what they are saying about you
Set up a Google alert for yourself to check how your name is being mentioned online. Google Alerts is a simple way to set up delivery notices sent automatically to yourself on any topic you might be interested including yourself.
Learn from criticisms and mistakes
Criticisms and negative feedback just drive me to do even better. I made mistakes in the past and learned from it. Even if the criticisms are below the belt, it pushed me to prove my detractors wrong and get better in the delivery of my message.
Just remember, how you look online directly impacts your career. So start bringing out positive and relevant content about yourself.
From the pages of The Manila Times