An unfortunate statistic was revealed recently about how people perceive the importance of their online reputation. A recent study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that over sixty percent of online users are not worried about their online reputation, demonstrating little or no attention to reputation management.
So, even though everyone under the sun googles everything from Alpha Romeo’s to ZZ Top, no one seems to think they will ever be Googled. One statistic that came out showed that if you took around 100 random names and looked up search activity, you could find that there are roughly 200 searches per name. Business contacts, prospective employers, relationships and anyone with Internet access can look up your name anytime they’d like to and get mountains of information. With this being the case reputation management becomes all the more important. If you aren’t sure if your online reputation is crystal clear, you can search your own name and see what comes up. Blogs, message boards, forum posts and other sites may bring up specific criticisms about you, impacting your career choices, relationship options and even loans. Quality online reputation management doesn’t just involve googling your name once to see what comes up, it involves monitoring your online presence regularly. If you don’t, a couple of problems can occur.
First, if you don’t know what’s being said about you, you can be caught completely unaware of negative comments, libel and more. If you’re a business, competitors could be posing as customers and writing terrible posts on blogs, or leaving nasty blog comments. If you’re a teacher, students may be leaving horrible comments about you on Myspace and/or Facebook. Negative comments have a knack for spreading beyond where they originate, and could damage your reputation in the long term. You may not want to believe you could be the target of negative online comments, but it’s completely possible. With the Internet, anything is up for discussion, and once the quality subjects have run out, people are more than willing to gossip. Seventy percent of job recruiters use Google to check out job candidates. IF the information which arises from a search is negative, even if those negative comments are inaccurate, your career and life could suffer.
Another problem is actually the opposite. You may find that there is no news about you online, and with nothing being written, nothing is being read. No public opinion could be just as damaging as negative public opinion. It could make you look like you are shady, that your business isn’t savvy and so forth.
As the Internet and its influence continue to grow and dominate the business world, online reputation management will only increase in importance. Instead of having to maintain your reputation in your community or in your state, you’re going to have to pay attention to a much wider audience. Contacting a highly-qualified reputation management company that is capable of handling online reputation management can be a major tool and a way to both monitor and improve your online reputation.