As someone who can tell a personal story of online slander, I advocate that everyone should take control of their online reputation. Whether it is to bury unsavory information or to build a strong, personal brand, understanding the impact of how you appear in search results or are portrayed by others can have a huge impact on landing a client or job.
A sullied online reputation may not necessarily be the result of direct negative content. Instead, when someone mentions you in a post, you become associated with the content of that post. And, with facial recognition software these days, you may end up getting tagged to a photo -- correctly or incorrectly -- that will not exactly elevate you to the fame you wanted.
With that said, it is understandable that some may wish to disappear from the online rat race. For that reason, WhoIsHostingThis.com has come up with a great infographic outlining steps you can take to erase your online existence.
The first obvious step is to stop appearing online. Stop using social media and search engines, both of which can track your location and Internet use. Next, start deleting your online accounts -- all of them. If you need help, consider JustDelete.Me, which provides tips and links to removing accounts.
In addition to removing all of your accounts and online information, you need to remove any and all information and content that is posted about you by others. Consider Abine's DeleteMe, which for a fee can assist in removing your personal contact information and photos and will provide you with a regular report and updates.
Removing yourself from the Internet is a big move and one that should not be considered lightly. Remember, come clients and recruiters consider being absent online as a sign of something to hide. If your privacy is that important to you, however, the time and cost to "go dark" is worth it.