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Online Reputation

What’s Your Online Reputation?

When gossip website TMZ leaked audio of Christian Bale’s tirade against the Director of Photography on the new Terminator Film, the story quickly spread throughout the Internet.

There were countless blog postings, lengthy threads on forums, enough Twitters to make it the number 1 trending story, and even a YouTube dance song mashup.

A Google Search for ‘Christian Bale’ reveals several stories about the star’s angry rant and a link to the original TMZ audio, all in the first ten search rankings.

While few of us have the public profile of a Hollywood movie star, this story should have some resonance for every individual or business who uses the internet on a regular basis.

Once a piece of information is on the internet, it’s out there for public consumption, and freely available for anyone who wants to look for it.

And even removal of the content is no guarantee, with the sites like The Way Back Machine acting as a digital time capsule, archiving previously removed or old websites.

You might not have incendiary audio like Bale’s out there, but what if a friend’s tagged you in some compromising photos on Facebook? Or have you ever posted something critical of your employer in a blog? There’s even a good chance someone out there has written about you or your product without your knowledge.

ReadWriteWeb carried an article this week about 8 ways to track your footprints online, collating some of the more prominent search tools.

One website not mentioned in the article was Spokeo People Search, which even offers a special section specifically for Human Resources Recruiters to do an online background check on potential employees.

Try out Spokeo or some similar websites and pretend you’re an employer looking to hire yourself. What kind of impression does your online reputation create?

And if nothing positive is being said about you online, what are you going to do about it?

In the digital age the most important brand we have is ourselves.

How are you going to take control of the online reputation of your brand?