The downside to social networking, part 2

In my last post, I shared some interesting statistics about social networking.

Now, let me ask you this:

Have you ever been rowdy and happy-go-lucky before?

Have you ever had a picture taken of you doing something that now you or anyone else would consider inappropriate ?

How about written something and wishing you wouldn’t have just after hitting the “send” or “post” button?

Don’t be ashamed.  I have done it too.

Now, have you ever turned white when you found out that your picture, email/post (or worse, your personal information) was shared with everyone in the world via the web? Whether done deliberately or inadvertently, by you or somebody you know, THEY DO. Things like these can find their way to the Web.

The part that sucks is that even things that aren’t true can creep up.  I know you think it’s far fetched to think that people might simply make up things that can harm your reputation.  You’re probably telling yourself it might not matter, the truth is the truth..  Well think again.

Now, you don’t have to click on that link just yet – bear with me a few more minutes.

But I don’t have anything like that out there..

Ok, so maybe you’re sure that you don’t have anything on the Web that can ruin your reputation. Here is another angle..  From the statistics mentioned in my last post, the chances of you applying for a new job or going out on an online date are quite high.

Let me put it this way.. When you want to find a job or when you want to know more about a person, what do you do? You’d probably Google away. Don’t you think a potential employer or date would do that on you as well?

If you’ve got nothing to hide, then maybe you shouldn’t be worried, but wouldn’t you like to be absolutely sure?  After all, we are in the midst of the Web 2.0 awakening, where information spreads so fast in all directions.

Times have changed, and new technologies pop up everyday to make searches more precise and locating information that much easier.  If you’re want to see what you or your family’s “Web footprint” looks like, then you might want to check out They’ve taken the task of working to defend, clean, or straighten your reputation online.

If you have a teenager, remember that all it takes is a little peer pressure, a click on a video-enabled phone, a quick upload to You Tube, and voila, instant video – viewable to all. The truth is, there are quite a number of video sharing sites out there, and there is no way you can track every one of them. Reputation Defender has a product that can take care of that problem for you.

Remember the film that catapulted Sandra Bullock to fame? (Yes, I’m talking about The Net, not Miss Congeniality..)  Well, what happened to her has been happening to many people all over the world, especially here in the US. Identity theft is no longer a product of Hollywood concoctions. Data brokers like Intelius, Yahoo!, People Search, and often list private information on public websites, and this has become a gold mine for identity thieves.

Reputation Defender’s solution to this is a product called MyReputation.  They comb the web for your personal information, collating these information along with the sites that display them, and providing you with an interface that allows you to remove whatever information you’d like to keep private.  Literally, it’s as if you have your own personal online reputation manager to ensure that your reputation on the Web closely approximates the image that you would like to project online.

Web 2.0 is one vibrant world to step in. It’s probably where we’re all headed, so it’s good to know that there’s hope to keep the one thing that we want to hold intact… our reputation.

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About the Author

Though his chief ambition is to one day control the entire Internet, Jim busies himself in the meantime running our little web development and marketing agency. He's a certified super nerd who ranks coding in old, outdated languages and watching Star Trek reruns just a bit too high on his list of fun things to do. Outside of work, Jim enjoys Hockey (Tampa Bay Lighning, to be specific), more genres of music than most people realize exist, riding his Harley (he calls it "two wheel therapy") and exploring the world through travel.