Online reputation management: exercising your digital “do not disturb” sign

Have you ever “Googled” yourself or your company?

If you haven’t, you should. Online personas are detailed, traceable and permanent. In a world of constant posting, commenting and uploading, we have lost control of our reputations.

Deep breath.

I recently finished reading Daniel Solove’s book The Future of Reputation. In it, he discusses the migration of conversation to social networks. More than ever, we’re losing our ability to control what is made public about us. But, that isn’t really the problem. According to Solove, “the problem is that these sites are not designed in ways to emphasize the potential harms to privacy and other consequences. Cyberspace is the new place to hang out, the perils of exposure notwithstanding.”

It’s true. In today’s climate of viral content, public defamation can be toxic and even deadly. So what are we going to do about it? We’re taking back the night. Maintain your online credibility by actively defending your privacy and staying in tune with the conversation. Try some of these FREE reputation management tools to stay in touch with your runaway online rep:

Google Alerts – It couldn’t get much easier than this free service that sends you an email every time your keyword is mentioned on the web.

Technorati – Search your keyboard for blog mentions with this search engine.

Twitter Search – This simple search engine allows you to enter a keyboard and browse real-time mentions on Twitter.

Who Links to Me – Understand your realm of influence by monitoring anyone who links to you.

monitorThis – Consider this your one stop shop. MonitorThis searches photos, tags, blogs, news, articles, microblogs, videos and websites from 26 different search engine feeds.

Rapleaf – Rapleaf lets you trace your online footprint. Users contribute to your online score, so create an account to start managing your privacy.

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