Twice a year an Italian-based digital management expert publishes a map of social networks. What you see above is the world of Facebook. The map shows that Facebook (in the blue) has become the largest social network covering 119 countries. Even more profound is that the numbers are rising in non-Western nations.
What does this mean for you? It is imperative that you know what is online about you. Every picture must be accounted for. How terrible would it be to spend years building the personal brand of your dreams and for an embarrassing picture to surface of you that you forgot you put on Facebook? The same Facebook that covers 119 countries? I bet Anthony Weiner, Vanessa Hudgens, Rihanna, and Kim Kardashian all wished they made smarter choices about their text messages and online presence. Keeping that in mind, here are three things you should do to manage your reputation online.
- Google yourself! According to Dan Schawbel and his book Me 2.0, you should be monitoring your brand’s activity and development online regularly. I agree with him. Does our name show up in the first result or the 30th? Are people writing about you? Does your LinkedIn profile have an accurate depiction of you? You should know the answers to all of these questions.
- Do not send anyone nude pictures of yourself. I’m sorry ladies! You may think it is a sexy and fun thing to do now but it is inevitable that they will become public knowledge when you least expect it. Could you imagine if nude pictures of our first lady Michelle Obama leaked from some time period before she was married? Yikes!
- Remember that everything can be traced. People seem to think that they can leave anonymous and hateful comments on sites and not be held accountable for them. Computers leave traces. Be smart about what you say and do online. If it is not part of the personal brand you are trying to build, don’t do it. If it would be detrimental to your personal brand, don’t do it. If it would hold you back from getting a job or having an opportunity, DON’T DO IT.