Protect your digital reputation
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With billions of websites available, you may think that the information you post about yourself and your friends is fairly insignificant.
In today’s world, part of our reputation is comprised of what we write and do online. For young people, it is sometimes difficult to keep their long-term reputation in mind, especially when they get caught up in the moment.
Understanding how to manage your online reputation or “digital footprint” is tricky business, even for those of us who have been using the internet for a long time.
Let’s explore what a digital footprint is and how this affects reputation.
A digital footprint is a trail of data you create while using the Internet. In includes the websites you visit, emails you send, and information you submit to online services.
A footprint can be different from your digital reputation, in so far as your footprint may be anonymous or unintentional. A "passive digital footprint" is a data trail you unintentionally leave online. For example, when you visit a website, the web server may log your internet address, which identifies your Internet service provider and your approximate location. While your internet address may change and does not include any personal information, it is still considered part of your digital footprint. A more personal aspect of your passive digital footprint is your search history, which is saved by some search engines while you are logged in.
So no matter what you do online it’s important that you know what kind of trail you’re leaving, and what the possible effects can be.
Your digital reputation is defined by your behaviours in the digital communities and by the content you post about yourself and others. Tagged photos, blog posts and social networking interactions will all shape how you are perceived by others online and offline, both now and in the future.
Trash talking, bullying, boasting misdeeds, questionable photos, locations can become part of a fairly permanent and damaging records.
Further, posting photos of the weekend on a social media site is a fun thing to do. But beware... nothing in the online world is confidential and your postings can last for years.
It may surprise you to learn that many companies use social media activity as part of a background check when screening potential employees. The may routinely look at their applicants’ public online activity
- If you haven’t checked your privacy settings, there might be a whole lot of people who know more about you than you think.
- Look for “settings” or “options” on the websites sites you use.
- Delete abandoned social media accounts.
- Prevention is better than cure – there is no substitute for thinking before you post content online.
- Google yourself or set a Google Alert. This will let you know when someone has posted something using your name
- Separate your personal and professional online profiles. Consider using a different name (e.g. a nickname)
- Remove anything from your public profile that is personal or private, or that might cause potential problems with colleagues, your current or prospective employer, and avoid inappropriate language and ill-advised comments.
- Remember that we live in a digital world and digital content can be easily accessed.