Once upon a time, the internet was a place where everybody could be anonymous. This is no longer the case, however. Back in the early days, things would appear online, only to disappear very quickly again, because people simply didn’t know how to find things. Today, however, with social media and search engines pretty much governing our lives, nothing disappears again. And the result of this is that most businesses and individuals alike sometimes have to engage in online reputation repair.
Understanding the Internet
Over the past few years, the way people behave online has changed tremendously. Not long ago, we didn’t want to share any kind of personal information. Today, however, we are hooked to social media sites such as Foursquare, Twitter, and Facebook, where we share stores and images of anything from our dinner to our favorite holiday destination. Not just that, however, research has shown people share their email address, phone numbers, political views, and whether they are at home or not!
One thing that has been uncovered is that, as we share more information, this information has become available to the public as well. There are still too many people who haven’t set their privacy settings on social media to private, not in the least because the pages themselves continuously make changes. And even fewer people type in their own name on Google more than once, so they don’t even know if there is negative information out there about them!
So, we have changed how we share information, but we have also changed how we search for information. The growth of search engines demonstrates this, not in the least because they are most people’s home page as well. Google is used by individuals and businesses alike and the information they provide is used to make important decisions as well.
Why Online Reputation Management Matters
Because there are now so many online profiles, so many online comments, and so many reviews, people can have their reputation made or broken overnight online. Someone may, for instance, rant about their boss on Facebook and accidentally set it to public. Someone else may have attended a political rally many years ago, only for that to suddenly pop up again. While this may seem innocent, the reality is that this can lead to employers deciding not to hire someone, colleges not to admit someone, or individuals not to date someone.
It is vital that people take responsibility for their own reputation. They have to make sure that their online image is a positive one, and that means staying on top of what is being said about them. To achieve this, they must constantly monitor the internet and make changes as and where necessary. This is a lot of work and requires expert knowledge. It is also for that reason that it is better to hire a professional reputation management company. They are experts in their field and they know exactly how to make sure bad things are no longer found.