Managing Reputation

How do I create a positive online image for myself?

The first step in setting up a positive online social media profile is to determine what you want the online presence to do - whether that's getting into the college of choice, or landing the perfect job. Here are some helpful tips that will get you moving in the right direction:

Create the Digital Image You Want

Align your online image with the goals you set.

A digital footprint is the reputation we all leave online and can include materials posted on social media sites, blogs, mentions on websites, and videos that are uploaded onto sharing sites. This even includes information posted about you online, whether by friends, parents or anyone else with good or bad intentions.

Online actions leave a permanent record and remain online, even if you click "delete". You should be thoughtful about what you share online and consider how it would appear to family, friends, colleges, and future employers.

Because many colleges and employers search social media before making admissions and hiring decisions, you might consider using social media as a tool to demonstrate your interests in positive ways. For example, social media can allow a you to show who you are by sharing what you think about and what matters to you. This can help you as they get closer to graduation or considering career options. Here is an example of how you can use social media:>
Commenting on articles in a knowledgeable way; or starting a blog about current events.

It's important to always take responsibility for the content you post in all social media environments. While you may think that using a fake name may prevent posts from becoming part of your footprint, there are still ways to link that information to the person who posted it (for example, through an Internet IP address or other distinguishing information linking posts). You must always be your best selves online - post accurate information and be accountable for what you say.

Putting your best foot forward.

People of all ages sometimes act differently on social media than they would "face-to-face," assuming that, because they are not communicating in person, they are not accountable for their actions. In fact, because of the nature of the digital world, we should all be as responsible, if not more so, when acting online. Since no one ever knows who will ultimately be reading content online, always assume that anyone might have access. Keep in the back of your mind "How would I feel if all my friends and family members read this", as there might be a better way for you to get your point across.

Pause before posting.

There is no such thing as a rewind button in life or online. What may seem funny or harmless when it is posted could hurt or offend someone. As a guiding principle, you should take a few extra minutes to think about whether a post will be hurtful or embarrassing or whether it could negatively affect a future opportunity. For example, if you posts an aggressive or inflammatory comment online because you were upset in the moment, this may end up making you a less attractive candidate in some college administrators or employers' mind. Because online posts can never be completely deleted, it is important to make sure that each post is something you can live with.

The Consequences of Online Actions

Use of social media away from school or the workplace may still have an effect at school or at work. Inappropriate or negative communication away from the school and work on social media can have a very detrimental effect during school and work hours and the school or your employer may need to get involved. This could include disciplinary action such as a parent conference, suspension at school or being fired from work.. To be safe, you must be in control of what you do online, even if it is during personal time.

Adjust your privacy settings appropriately.

Privacy settings are automatically set by social media providers governing who can see a person's posts, how information is linked, and what data is available to the public. Each social media platform has different privacy setting defaults and some change those settings without making it obvious to the user. You and your teen should determine whether to change the default settings to make access to postings more or less private. For example, if you and your teen are creating a personal site to promote a social or political issue or just his/her good deeds, you likely want to make that site open to everyone. However, if you want to discuss a project being done in class or at work, it may be better to limit access only to a small group of individuals.

Google Plus

Another great way to build or rebuilding your social presence is through Google Plus.

Because Google gives special consideration to users of its own social network, you may find your own posts starting to rise through the search rankings - and negative information, if any, getting pushed down where fewer people will stumble across it.

For better or for worse, social media profiles serve as embodiments of your personal brand, and, as such, they are no longer idle playgrounds, but tools to help you or your child get into the school they wish to attend, or land that dream job.

Here are some tips to get started taking positive steps:

For better or for worse, social media profiles serve as embodiments of your personal brand, and, as such, they are no longer idle playgrounds, but tools to help you or your child get into the school they wish to attend, or land that dream job.

Follow brands and blogs relevant to your field of study or the line of work you would like to get into.

Share important news and analysis posts and tweets from influential brands and blogs within your field of interest

Setup a positive and professions LinkedIn profile

And most important: make sure you are using IISafety's Free Visual Web Scan service!