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What is your rep in a 2.0 world?

April 6, 2010

We’ve all heard horror stories about people loosing their jobs because of photos they’ve posted on social networking sites, or things they’ve written on their personal blogs. The case of teaching student, Stacy Snyder, who was denied her degree after college administrators decided an image she’d posted of herself on Myspace was inappropriate comes immediately to mind, but cases like these seem to be popping up more and more these days.

It’s tempting to think that your life after hours can’t impact your career, but with social media quickly bridging the gap between your private and professional lives, protecting your online reputation is becoming ever important.

How many times have you found yourself tagged in a photo on Facebook that you didn’t even know was taken? The reality is that without even pro-actively uploading a scandalous picture of yourself online, cell phones surround us and your drunken mug could end up the next humorous Twitpic.

This reality has created two main social networking camps: those people who are too scared to touch social media altogether and those who don’t care what people think. In terms of building your reputation 2.0, being in either of these camps is a bad thing.

You should be using social media to create the reputation you want, so that your personal Facebook or Myspace profile aren’t the only things the next HR person finds when they Google you. In the marketing industry this is sometimes called cultivating “brand you,” but, whatever you call it, it’s a crucial part of building your professional reputation.

Here are five things you can do to get started building your reputation 2.0 today:

1. Buy Your Own Domain Name: Do you own (your name here).com? If not, then you already don’t have control over your online reputation. Whether you use it to create a professional website for yourself right away doesn’t matter. Go to Go Daddy and see if your name is available to buy (make sure to check .ca, .net, .org etc). It’s cheap to buy a domain and who knows, you might want to start consulting one day and wish you had a web page.

2. Start a Professional Blog -In a way, Sprout was started for this reason. One of the reasons we decided to start this blog was so we could direct contacts and potential employers to it in order to give a positive impression of our interest in business community. Keep it relevant and update it regularly and it will be a real asset.

3. Join LinkedInLinkedIn is the largest business related social network on the planet. It’s used for more than just posting pictures and sending funny Youtube links to your friends. Through your connections you can make strategic alliances and even be recommended for jobs.

4. Ease up on your Facebook Security Settings: You don’t have to broadcast your whole life to the world, but by easing up on your Facebook security settings you can let potential employers see enough of what you want them to see to set a good image for yourself. Let them read your info and see your friend list. A popular employee is a good employee.

5. Use Twitter Right – Use Twitter to share articles and ideas relevant to your industry and not just to tell the world what you ate for breakfast that morning. This will show others how interested you are in staying current in your field.

Obviously there are many more things you can do to cultivate your reputation 2.0, but these are easy steps to start to take control of your own image.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. claireh8 permalink
    April 6, 2010 11:35 pm

    Great tips!
    To add to your 4th tip. Be careful with Facebook, although it is a convenient way for people to find out what you like and what you do… don’t go over board!
    Also, keep the photos of you passed out with permanent maker all over your face out of view – no employer wants to see that image of you.

  2. April 8, 2010 2:53 am

    Micro blogging on Twitter can be effective. I follow PR/communications professionals to keep up to date on the latest in the industry.

    Although breakfast is my *favourite* time of day, I have yet to post to my followers that I enjoy kale smoothies in the morning.

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