I’ve only just got around to the Crowdsourcing request to provide my thoughts on what digital natives (ie those brought up in an online world) should do – or not do – in respect of their online reputation management.
There’s already a lot of good advice from others tagged to provide their views – and as Podcamp Boston (the stimulus for the request) takes place today, I’m a bit late with my two-pennies worth.
But, it is a good topic to consider – especially for those starting out on their careers in PR, who haven’t yet thought about how much digital dirt they’ve accumulated and increasingly the role of an online footprint when job hunting etc. So, my 3 pieces of advice are:
1. Create a social media CV (resumé ) – I posted on this in April and still believe it is something that has not been given sufficient focus. Rather than relying on your profile in social networking sites or elsewhere to present yourself, a dedicated home profile would be a more professional approach. This can, of course, offer links to other places that you “live” online – which you need to ensure are suitable for public viewing (by that I mean by potential and existing employers).
2. Treat yourself as a PR client – linking back to a post from May on creating “brand you“, I recommend undertaking a personal SWOT analysis and managing yourself as a “brand“. One idea is to establish personal “brand icons” – aspects of our personality, behaviour or interests that act as symbols to our personal identity and enable us to stand out from others.
3. Manage your network – take care in respect of the connections you have online. Are you proud to be associated with everyone who is a friend in Facebook or who appears in a Flickr photograph with you? We are often judged by the company we keep, so you should ensure that you are in good company. This doesn’t mean being superficial in trying to look well connected, but about carefully cultivating good relationships – on and offline. The “little black book” is still a vital accessory to any competent PR practitioner. Also seeking out effective mentors who can give you good counsel is a key skill. Ensure anyone who has ever met you will view the encounter positively – and enhance your word of mouth credibility. Be a good contact, generous in your support and grateful for advice.
Even though being online is a lot of fun, we do need to take care of the trail we leave behind us. Rather than this being something that will come back and haunt us at some point, we should view a digital reputation as an asset to be nurtured, a way of ensuring we are easy to locate online and something that presents a positive impression.