Discussion: Controlling Your Online Presence

When we first started using the internet, anonymity was key. We struggled to maintain a reasonable distance between our true identities and personal lives, and the life we shared in the online world.  Fast forward to 2008, when the job market has become incredibly competitive thanks to the struggling economy and the internet is leading talented workers to the few jobs available.

If you’re looking to advance your career, it’s time to start thinking of the way you’re represented online.  After a quick search for your name, you will most likely understand why such steps are necessary.  An arrest, a death or even an unflattering tag in a gossip column could mislead your next potential employer.  As Computer World points out, “someone who has no information online might be perceived as not being as tech-savvy as someone else.”.

So how do you properly control your online persona? Web Worker Daily has 4 tips: 

1:  Buy your domain name

Controlling your .com is one of the most important steps you can take.  Chances are there is someone out there with the same name, so snapping up the url is important.  You don’t need to build a professional site around it, just domain map it to a free blogging platform and include your basic contact information and your current projects.  A little goes a long way.

2: Understand your Google profile

As Web Worker Daily points out, most potential employers are going to use Google as a first source. Make sure you appear somewhere within those results, but also know that some of those results aren’t you.

3: Own your brand

Make sure you create a LinkedIn, Myspace, Facebook and other social networking sites in your name. Even if your .com doesn’t show in search results, these sites will. Use these sites to showcase your many talents and projects.

4: Destroy the evidence

Remove anything incriminating or embarrassing, and be sure to project an image you’re proud of.  The purpose of controlling your own brand is to take control of what is placed online.  You want to be represented in an appropriate and positive manner, not by random bits and pieces aggregated into a search result.

Do you find it appropriate to control your online persona? Or would you rather remain anonymous in your pursuits? What steps have you already taken to control how other’s perceive you online?

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