Mario Sundar

LinkedIn's 2nd PR hire. These are my thoughts on products, public relations, and startups.

The easiest way to control your online reputation

Summary: Tamara Weinberg (Lifehacker) outlines six ways to control your online reputation | As asked by one of the commenters, what was missing was mention of a site that manages professional identity | My examples of sites to help you maintain your online brand | Question on what’s more important to you – social capital or professional reputation? (Disclosure: I’m the Community Evangelist at LinkedIn)

I know a TechMeme firestorm of ideas is just brewing around online reputation management. The most prominent posts belong to ReadWriteWeb and Andy Beal’s Marketing Pilgrim. What these posts count down is actually a slew of reputation management tools that range from TrackUr to Rapleaf.

But for the majority of us who don’t have time or money to invest in such tools, may not realize that there’s a bunch of participatory web 2.0 sites that actually adds up to our online brand or reputation. Lifehacker’s post outlines simpler ways to manage your online reputation for those folks. The article is similar to many posts I’ve written in the past on online brand management on how to control your brand.

Lifehacker | In addition to blogging, Tamar mentions six other ways to boost your online reputation, all of which work but none of which (IMO) are essential. All of which are time-consuming and the Wikipedia example in particular is purely irrelevant for the mainstream user: Flickr, YouTube, Digg, Wikipedia, Facebook, and Twitter.

My Take | I also think Tamar missed what I think is a critical reason for you to maintain your online reputation. I think one of the “anonymous” commenters (gopanthers) on her blog post summarized it well:

You mention tons of social websites but you neglected the largest and most important professional networking site,! Who cares about Flickr or Digg when your LinkedIn profile says everything about your professional reputation. What’s more important than your professional reputation?

To which Tamar Weinberg responds:

@gopanthers: The article never claimed to be a comprehensive guide and it clearly touches upon the basics. As you can tell, LinkedIn was in the graphic I used (and created myself), so I didn’t forget it totally. ;)

From my personal experience LinkedIn is definitely the quickest way to get your online brand up and running (in no time) and also the easiest to maintain. Granted blogs are the best way to define yourself online but not many folks have the time or the inclination to do so. It’s the same with sharing photos, tweets, videos of yourself with the rest of the world. But do the majority of online users really choose to do so. Let me end with a quote from another commenter on my blog Travis Phipps.

I have found your last two posts very intriguing from an online Identity and “real world” perspective. I tend to “use” the Internet and what is has to offer to enhance my professional world. For example, recently I have nurtured my LinkedIn profile (Disclosure: I do NOT work for LinkedIn) and contacts to build an extensive network that can help my professional interests.

I know I am probably the exception rather than the rule, but I don’t want my personal identity online. My relationships with family, friends, and acquaintances all happen in real time in the “real world”. That is how I choose to develop those relationships. My political views, books I enjoy reading, philosophies, etc… are also developed in the “real world”. Also, my political and personal views will definitely stay “private”, not because I am ashamed of them but simply because a professional venue is simply not the appropriate place to discuss those.

Here’s my Google search result, which highlights what in my opinion are easy ways to get yourself a well-rounded online brand or online reputation, going. Marketing Nirvana (Career blog), LinkedIn (Professional identity), Flickr (Pictures mostly taken at work/social networking events), MarketingProfs (where I’m a contributing blogger), LinkedIn Blog (which I edit), and more. What does your Google search result look like?

What’s more important to you? Social capital or Professional Reputation?

Filed under: Miscellaneous

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