Clean it Up: How to Fix Your Online Image

Sometimes our lives become so hectic that we don't think before we make our next move, especially when it comes to the Internet. However, in one swift movement, our online image can be tarnished just by a few posts. What's worse, it takes longer to win back the trust of your followers or even gain the confidence of a recruiter or hiring manger than it does to tear it down.

So, take some time to clean up your online image, even if you believe it's spotless. Here's how to get started:

Revamp every profile. Over the years, we tend to disregard certain profiles and give more attention to others. However, it's important to keep a clean track record with all platforms, not just your favorites. Update your LinkedIn profile with your current work status, make your Twitter bio reflect your interests and industry, and list your experiences on Facebook.

Moreover, it's important to get rid of the junk that has accumulated on your profiles. For example, if there are some questionable photos from your college days, get rid of them. Even though they may not be permanently deleted from the Web, at least they will be out of plain view.

Lastly, if you don't use a particular profile anymore or you have a new blog, get rid of the old versions. It doesn't exactly bode well for you if a hiring manager or recruiter finds dated material that's not even updated. In this case, the “delete" button is your best friend.

Make some profiles private. Your privacy settings are important, especially when it comes to popular platforms like Facebook. Don't be one of “those" people and leave it up to chance. Those who really want to find you will find a way, and they will judge you based on the content they see, even if it's not by you or years old. However, if you don't like the idea of ironclad privacy settings, at least hide things like your personal information, friends, images or videos. This will limit cases on mistaken identity and won't put the spotlight on your private life.

Conversely, sites like Twitter and LinkedIn should remain open and updated often. Why? These types of social networking sites can bridge the gap between your personal and professional life if done correctly. They can be a huge asset to you, especially during the job hunt.

Stay away from bad influences. It's terrible to make assumptions about someone based on who they know. Unfortunately, that's how it goes sometimes. However, knowing this information should help you make decisions, particularly regarding whom you follow and interact with. Just like good influencers can help you on your path to thought leadership and enhancing your personal brand, bad influencers can do just the opposite for your image. Be careful when networking with questionable characters, especially if your platforms are public. No matter how innocent you may seem, you can always be guilty by association.

How else can you clean up your image?

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Comment by Michael on July 19, 2012 at 5:14pm

Hey Robert - what a great post and you are totally right about how easily our reputations can be affected online. Have you considered how this affects businesses such as restaurants that are greatly affected by things such as negative yelp reviews and other online ratings? It's something we are trying to resolve at OwnerListens and I would love to get your take on the idea given your expertise. What do you think?




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