“We’ll just use something, like, one of those reputation sites and, like, clean things up,” I overheard two teenagers say in a Starbucks line the other day. The two, about high school age, were laughing together at something on their mobile phones.
Do they really believe it’s that easy? At least, that’s what I wanted to ask, and I also wanted to show them how much some of the reputation management sites charge to burnish a person’s Internet profile.
At the very least the exchange reminded me that we parents and educators need to repeat over and over, “The Internet has no real eraser.” It should be a mantra. Online reputations are important, but many adolescents really do not believe it (not surprising since teens often feel invincible). Actually many adults don’t understand the topic either. So a review, perhaps even some remediation, on the topic is necessary.
That’s just what Kim Komando did in a recent blog post, “Why You Should Google Yourself Now,” appearing on her website as well as in several newspapers. Komando walks readers through the basic as well as some advanced steps that identify what personal content lingers about out there on the web. Starting with the basic Google alert, she describes how to search for a name, how to search for a name with possible modifiers, how to look over images, and most engagingly, how to do a reverse image search if a certain image is questionable. Do you have various email accounts — old and new? Komando also explains how to search for them as well.
All in all, an excellent “how to” source for getting started with managing the Internet information that defines a person’s reputation.
Another interesting article to read and share is Inside the Mysterious World of Online Reputation Management, by Brian Proffitt, written in 2012 and posted at the ReadWrite.com site.