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Tips for Protecting your Online Reputation

Fri, 11/09/2012 - 4:26pm | by monicadear

For your online reputation, safeguard it as well as you would protect your business or professional reputation. Michael Fertik, Harvard graduate and serial internet entrepreneur, helps businesses and consumers control their online lives and reminds all of us about the importance of one's online reputation:

"The proliferation of blogs, online forums, and social media has created a space for fruitful exchanges of information between people across the globe...When it comes to information about people, the Internet and search engines often call up information that is private, untrue, or out of context." -

Here are Monica's Top Ten Tips on Maintaining Privacy on the Interwebs:

1. If you're managing your own social profile, consider setting up a Google Alert to get notifications of your full name, if it ever appears in the press or in the blog-o-sphere.

2. There's no need to post your address, your or your family members' social security numbers, birthdays, vacation plans, banking or financial data, or other personally identifiable information on the web.

3. Consider being slightly more conservative in your posts and comments as you are in real life. The "long tail" of posts attached to your name gets longer and longer as you spend more time online, and sometimes it's good to be more circumspect, at least in the public forums.

4. No need for vitriol, blasting others, trolling, complaining, or spreading malicious gossip unless you want to have those posts permanently attached to your name.

5. Only accept "friend" requests on Facebook from people with whom you are truly friends. You can set up a "Fan Page" for other followers.

6. In LinkedIn, you don't have to accept a connection request if you don't know that person.

7. Twitter is great with photos - but do not post photos if you're concerned about location "stalking." JPG files can have location data embedded in the file, down to the latitude and longitude of where the picture was taken.

8. Your Google Plus account - check the privacy settings of your posts. Many a post was meant for friends but instead went out to the whole world.

9. It goes without saying that you should never, ever post naked photos of yourself.

10. Review #9 one more time!

Your social media profiles, blog posts and comments, pictures, Facebook posts, LinkedIn profile, Twitter updates, Google Plus posts, Pinterest accounts, sharing history, and almost everything about you can be deconstructed and used against you. Make sure to maintain privacy by keeping the things that you post online as private and secure as possible.

To learn more from the experts, Michael Fertik co-authored Wild West 2.0 (Amacom, 2010) and has been named a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer for 2011. He contributes at BusinessWeek as an ongoing author on reputation management.


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