What Your Teens Think of Your Online Reputation?

You know you’re a pretty good parent. Sure, you’re not perfect – but most of the time, you do what you have to do to provide a comfortable, nurturing life for your kids. Most importantly, your children love and respect you.

But because kids are naturally curious, they will start to wonder about aspects of your life that they aren’t familiar with. And since kids are computer-savvy, they’re likely to turn to the Internet to find the answers rather than ask you.

When they type your name into a search engine, what will they come across? Will they discover:

  • Inflammatory comments from you? Did you insult someone on a Facebook thread? Send out a foul-mouthed tweet? Or perhaps you even kept a personal blog at one point that espoused ideas you’ve since “grown out of”? They’re still out in cyberspace somewhere.
  • Embarrassing photos or videos with you in them? Maybe these images depict you drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana, or consuming illicit drugs. Or perhaps you were wearing provocative or inappropriate clothing. Or it’s possible you were engaging in some activity that would require a difficult and uncomfortable explanation.
  • Photos or videos containing you and other members of the opposite sex? Even innocent photos of you and an ex-significant other can set off a confused train of thought in the minds of (particularly young) children. Especially if you were kissing or hugging someone who isn’t their mother/father. (And God forbid that ill-advised sex tape ever made its way onto the Web!)
  • Negative comments made by others about you? Kids are protective of their parents, so it may hurt them if they see other people saying bad things about Mom and Dad on Facebook or other social media sites, even if they were meant in jest. Especially if they were written by people that the child knows (like family friends or relatives).
  • Your membership in groups that may be difficult to explain? In addition to traditional organizations, this includes online forums, virtual worlds, and even gaming sites. If you are found contributing to a site or group that discusses drugs, weapons, illegal activity, or pornography – even one time – that will probably initiate an awkward parent-child conversation.
  • Complaints or accusations against you professionally? If you are a business owner, lawyer, or doctor, there are sites out there that collect reviews and comments about people in your industry. Practicing good merchant, attorney, or physician reputation management will reduce the odds of your kid seeing someone insult or gripe about their mom or dad.
  • Your criminal record? Sure, those criminal record database sites cost a little money – but that doesn’t mean that your child still won’t get access to them. Even if it was a drug charge, public intoxication arrest, or a misdemeanor assault or theft, any blemish on your past could undermine any moral authority you have with your kids in the future.

You’ve probably already figured out the moral of this story: It is essential that you monitor your online reputation. This means getting problematic content off of sites you control, and even asking other site administrators to remove unflattering material. Because the last thing you want is for some long-ago incident or bad decision to come back to haunt you by jeopardizing your relationship with your children.

Guest post by Chris Martin.

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Sue Scheff: Wild West 2.0 – The Digital Frontier Hits Your Home – Be Ready!

Do you use the Internet?  Sure you do, you are reading this article.  Are you a business owner, looking for a job or even looking for date?  Your online life has become your real life.  Scary as it sounds, people won’t take the time to determine if Google is telling the truth or you are. 

Wild West 2.0 is hitting book shelves very shortly and if you use the Internet, you better get your copy as soon as you can.  If you are a parent with a teen that will soon be applying to college, do you know that his or her virtual profile will most likely be visited by college admissions?  Did you know if you are looking for employment chances are very good that who you are interviewing with has Googled you.  What does Google say about you?

Wild West 2.0 written by ReputationDefender founder, Michael Fertik and David Thompson, together have given you an excellent guide to help you manage your digital reputation.  Not only will you find useful tips and advice on building your online presence, you will better understand the forces driving your virtual image.

If you think you are immune to Internet slime, defamation and a few ugly keystrokes and click of a mouse won’t hurt you, think again.  Read Google Bomb, The Untold Story of the $11.3M Verdict That Changed the Way We Use the Internet. This landmark case that was tried in Broward County, ended with an $11.3M jury verdict for damages.  Yes, there can be a price for malicious attacks online.

The how:  Order Wild West 2.0 on Amazon today.  Visit their website and blog at www.wildwest2.com and follow them on Twitter.

The why:   Order Google Bomb on Amazon today. Visit www.googlebombbook.com for more information and follow on Twitter.

The where: Everywhere!  Remember, the Internet never forgets!

Someday, somewhere, sometime, someone will be Googling YOU!   What will the Internet say about you?

Subscribe today (click above this article), there will be more inside the Wild West 2.0 and why it is a book that can literally save lives!

Read more.Click here to find out more!

Sue Scheff: Valentine’s Day, Social Media and Your Gifts

Reputation Defender, the leader in protecting your online profile and helping you maintain your honest image, has some great advice on sending and receiving social media Valentine’s gifts.

Source: Reputation Defender Blog

This Valentine’s Day, keeping things “personal” between you and your significant other may mean not using social media or other online tools to express your genuine feelings. In other words, NOT sending Facebook flowers/hugs/lingerie/other assorted virtual gifts to someone you truly care about; NOT using E-Cards as a replacement for the real thing; and NOT uploading a video of yourself lip syncing (or worse actually singing) Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” in your underwear to YouTube to share with your partner and the rest of the online community. More often than not, the real thing is much more effective.

With those thoughts in mind, we here at ReputationDefender have compiled some Valentine’s Day social media tips designed to keep the day special for just you and whoever you choose to share it with:

  • Keep your Tweets and Facebook status updates PG-13 rated

Nobody wants to read about your Valentine’s night plans, no matter how subtle you are. So instead of tweeting “At the grocery store buying strawberries and chocolate sauce, hint, hint” or updating with “Can’t wait for my night with (add name here),” just keep it to yourself. Your Facebook friends will thank you for keeping mushy, gushy stuff off their update streams and your partner won’t hate you for announcing plans for “Horizontal mambo time.”

  • Don’t text or e-mail that “special” Valentine’s Day picture to your partner.

You can never be too sure where it’s going to end up. It’s well know that data doesn’t just disappear into a World Wide Web black-hole, never to appear again. It goes somewhere. So unless you want that sexy, pouty lipped image of you dressed in leopard lingerie to pop up on Hot or Not or God knows where else, save the outfits (or lack of outfits) for personal time.

  • Avoid the myriad “Who’s your perfect match?”, “What type of lover are you?”, and “Are you meant to be together?” quizzes on Facebook and other websites.

While knowing whether or not you’re compatible with Jessica Alba is helpful information, basing a relationship off of or even bothering to take an online quiz is about as constructive as proposing via Twitter. Besides being time wasters, quizzes can be detrimental to a relationship depending on how much thought you give them (“What do you mean I’m not your perfect match!?!”) and often are managed by third-party developers (who are known to have security issues).

  • Being genuine often means going the extra mile.

Nobody wants to read “I love you” in a tweet, Facebook message, or e-mail, particularly on Valentine’s Day. A Valentine’s Day E-Card is just as impersonal with the added annoyance that it’s carrying possible malware. Your best bet is sticking to tradition, i.e. cards, candies, flowers, etc. Besides preventing images or text from being seen by the wrong people, the traditional approach to Valentine’s Day says you care enough to at least stop at the drug store or supermarket on your way over.

Photo: XKCD

Sue Scheff: 2010 Social Media Predictions by Michael Fertik

This week CEO and Founder of Reputation Defender, Michael Fertik gives some fantastic 2010 Social Media Predictions that can help you help your future – technically.
In many ways, 2009 was a banner year for social media. While pioneering sites like Friendster were forced to finally cut their losses and sell, others, like Facebook, eclipsed 350 million users, setting a new precedent for social networking websites. With its 140 character “tweets,” Twitter brought micro-blogging to the masses, becoming one of the most talked about new companies in the world in the process.

Will social media continue to expand in 2010? Most experts agree that social media is more than just a fad, and will continue to be an integral part of our lives in the years to come. Perhaps nowhere will the importance of social media be felt than in the area of personal branding and online reputation management.

Recently, in a guest column for ZDNet, ReptuationDefender CEO Michael Fertik shared his social media predictions for the new year, and why he believes that 2010 will be the year of “Atomic Branding.” Check out Michael’s insights here.

Sue Scheff: Ouch! That wasn’t nice! Online Slime

What is Virtual Vanity? OUCH – it will hurt if not attended to.

What happens when you do find or see negative or not so nice comments about you online?  What happens when you read outright lies and twisted truths?  It can hurt, but it will hurt more (virtually speaking) if you engage.  Especially if you see some websites that seem like consumer protection websites, grievance sites, complaint forums etc.  Although some may be legit, there are many that are not.  Read about them in Google Bomb.

How to approach negative content:

•Be sure your early warning system is in place -set up Google Alerts and BackType
•Never, ever engage in it. Don’t fuel or feed it. That is exactly what the perpetrator wants, keep your cool and work diplomatically to get it removed.
•Determine the website that the negative content is posted on – look for the TOS (Terms of Service) or Code of Conduct
•Read the TOS (Terms of Service) or Code of Conduct and determine if the post is violating any of them such as: abusive language, slanderous content, harassing etc.
•Write the Support Team at the website and bring the post to their attention and exactly how it is violating its TOS and politely and professional ask them to remove it.
•Retain an online reputation service, they are usually the pros and cost effective verses the legal road.
•Last and most costly is retaining an attorney. Cease and desist letters are cost effective (usually approx $1000) however if you are not ready to litigate, I would recommend you don’t send one – most will take the letters and post them, and it will get worse for you.

Take control of your virtual presence today. <<< Go back.

What is virtual vanity? <<< Go back.

For more information, order Google Bomb today.  This book can literally save you from many Internet errors with your virtual image.  The approximately $10.00 book is priceless in value!

Sue Scheff: Google Bomb Book

I was flattered and honored that Christopher Burgess would add Google Bomb book to his Blog on Online Safety and Online Reputation Management.

Here is the first part:

Online Safety: Reputation and Personal Brand (A review of the book – Google Bomb)

We all have a reputation. When you were young, you may have been known as the “ultra-smart” student or the one who wore “keds” or perhaps the “bratty one” or the “swimmer” – all labels. And as we matured the labels and nicknames associated with us adjusted. When we entered the working world we all were rated and graded on our clothes, performances, and achievements. Perhaps those judging were our customers, clients or supervisors and throughout the engagement our personal and professional reputations were formed and perhaps you had your professional dossier in hard copy and you also had the “hall file” or personal reputation. Today, the reputation is dynamic and while the hall file certainly remains, each of us as individuals has what is affectionately known as our personal brand.

Click here to read complete article >>>>>>

Sue Scheff: Internet Defamation Talk Radio

I was thrilled to be a guest on Traverse Legal Radio this week!

We talked about Internet Defamation and how it can devastate your business and reputation. 

Learn more – click here to read the transcript and listen!

Reminder: Purchase Google Bomb book to learn more about how you can maintain your virtual image!  Learn from my mistakes!