Posted by Kim Sanchez, director, Trustworthy Computing Communications, Microsoft

No matter which search engine someone prefers, a key piece of advice from safety advocates to help protect your online reputation, is to conduct an Internetsearch on yourself, using several search engines.  And then, evaluate whether your online life mirrors the reputation you want others to see.

Recently, the Bing team launched an Internet search tool that lets you conduct a side-by-side search engine comparison with Google.  Now, while I think it’s cool, I thought; what if people used this double search feature for good – their own good.  What a great time to use one tool, to help manage your online reputation: Search for yourself, and check out what’s being said about you.  According to a recent study*, 37 percent of adults never do this.  

Managing your online reputation isn’t just something kids or teens need to think about.  Fifty-seven percent of adults think about taking steps to keep their work and personal profiles private. However, 17 percent said information intended to remain private had inadvertently been made public online.

What if you find information that is inaccurate or less favorable? Respectfully request that the person who posted it remove it or correct an error.  And if they won’t do it, contact the site
administrator.

Here are some quick tips to help protect and manage your Online Reputation:

Conduct your own “reputation report” from time to time

  • Search all variations of your name

Evaluate whether the results reflect the reputation you’d like to share with the world

  • If the information is inaccurate or less favorable, respectfully request that the person who posted it remove it or correct an error.  And if they won’t do it, contact the site administrator.

Consider separating your professional and personal profiles

  • Remember that your image online can be a determining factor for hiring managers and application reviewers. Be sure to use different e-mail addresses, screen names, referring blogs and websites for each profile; avoid cross-referencing personal sites.

Adjust your privacy settings

  • In Internet browsers, social networking sites, personal blogs and other places where you maintain personal data, use privacy settings to help manage who can see your profile or photos, how people can search for you, who can comment and how to block unwanted access. According to our research, 49 percent of adults do not use privacy settings on social networking sites.

Think before you share

  • Think about what you post (particularly personal photos and videos), who you share the information with, and how it reflects on your reputation. Let others know what you do and do not want shared, and ask them to remove anything you don’t want disclosed.

Be a good digital citizen

  • Always show respect for those with whom you engage directly. It reflects on both you and them, and becomes engrained in your respective online reputations.

               

              The more proactively you manage your information online,
              the more opportunities you will have to ensure your online reputation makes you
              proud. For additional guidance, you can point readers to www.microsoft.com/security.  Also, regularly check in to our Safety & Security Center, where all of our
              tools and materials are housed. “Like” our page on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.