Want a Solid Online Reputation? Curate Yourself
At one point in time, the word "curate" was associated solely with what goes on inside museums to create the perfect experience for their patrons.
Now, everyone has gotten into the business of curating--from restaurants to retailers--and it's one bandwagon you should hop aboard.
If the Internet is the one-stop shop for people researching you, this is the way to ensure they get the best, most accurate and current information possible.
Seriously, go curate yourself. Here's where to start:
Decide what defines you.
What should people know about you? Maybe it's just the based-in-fact basics. Perhaps it's the professional you--establishing your expertise in a certain field or niche industry knowledge. Maybe you want to include a passion for a certain hobby (like serious amateur photography). It's easy to narrow down with a simple litmus test: Is this the primary information I want people to know about me? Then, make sure everything you do online reinforces how you want to be known.
Embrace the Big Three.
If you're not one of the 200 million professionals on LinkedIn, what’s stopping you? It frequently shows up well in search results--and a clean, well-organized profile says you're savvy about self-presentation. Actively reaching out to others and building your connections says you’re smart about networking. Likewise, another no-brainer: Twitter and Facebook profiles that align with your communication goals.
Explore other options.
Use good judgment but invest some time in developing yourself on other sites; there is no shortage from which to pick. For example, Resume.com is a free online resume builder with a great interface that tends to rank well in search results. Hardcore hobbyist? There’s guaranteed to be a Web community to join, whether you’re a knitting enthusiast (hello, Ravelry!) or a tea tippler (here’s looking at you, Steepster).
Set up your site.
I’ve said it before but it bears repeating: It’s cheap, easy, and effective to buy your own Web domain. And it’s even simpler to point a blog you establish to that domain name. Your easiest option? Set up a Tumblr account, which can be as low maintenance as posting a photo with a caption, and link it to your personalized website. WordPress and Blogger are also good choices.
Once you’re up and running, your work is not over. Update, update, update! Current content is king when it comes to your search results.
MICHAEL FERTIK | Columnist
Michael Fertik founded Reputation.com with the belief that businesses and individuals have the right to control and protect their online reputation and privacy. Credited with pioneering the field of online reputation management (ORM), Fertik is lauded as the world's leading cyberthinker in digital privacy and reputation.