There are a lot of ways that other internet users can maliciously mess with your online reputation. There are just as many techniques that you can use to repair the damage they do. But let’s put all the nasty and mean people aside for a moment and think about some of the actions we may unknowingly take ourselves that lead to us screwing up our own online presence? What are the things that we sometimes do to screw up our online presence and what can we do to avoid them?
Common Things We Do To Screw Up Our Online Presence
1. Subject ourselves to life events that lead to embarrassment.
Most of us who have been active on the Internet for any length of time have been able to see some of the damage that occurs when we don’t think about some of the actions that we take. Many of us just chalk up to being “young and foolish”. An example of such a thing that jumps into my mind are the kids attending Spring Break and the activities (say, Girls Gone Wild?) that they participate in during a potentially less than sober state.
Having inappropriate pictures of yourself that make their way around the Internet is a sure way to screw up your online presence.
2. Get involved in legal issues.
Legal issues encompass a wide variety of topics from illegal activities to public legal announcements. Here is a short list to get us thinking about a few. DUI (driving under the influence), DWI (driving while intoxicated), domestic violence, robbery, assault, bankruptcy or even something as simple traffic violations. We know these things are going to be public, but still, we sometimes manage to get ourselves into these situations.
Involvement in legal issues can screw up your online presence.
3. Tweet, share and comment using language or content is considered offensive.
Everyone knows what the swear words are. Here in America, we use many of these terms as part of our everyday language. Some of the cuss words might even be considered adjectives and used specifically for emphasis. Regardless, it does not make it any less offensive and realistically, it is not really necessary.
Choosing to use offensive language is a choice that can screw up your online presence.
4. Affiliate ourselves with groups that others would view as questionable.
We have all heard about the two things that you never discuss in public… politics and religion. That right there says enough. Think of the Internet and everything on it like a public conversation, multiplied by millions. Everything you say can and will be scrutinized, evaluated and disputed. Granted, there is a time and place for voicing opinion, even on the Internet.
Affiliations are an open door and opportunity for you to sabotage and screw up your online presence.
Sooner or later someone, somewhere is going to say bad things about us online. As much as we may feel the need or want to lash out, put them in their place and get even, rest assured, it is only going to make it worse. Sometimes even over defending ourselves can have the same effect.
Retaliation is just another way to screw up your online presence.
6. Look for our own negative attention.
Scenario: You have had some nasty and mean people say some bad things about you and you have already done everything that you can to fix the problem. But now, you are left with the residual minute pieces of data left floating out on the Internet. One of the worst things that you can do is search and track where that information is.
Searching for the bad information is only going to enhance the bad information’s visibility and screw up your online presence.
7. Not claiming your own name on Social Networking Sites
Anyone can easily claim any unused name as their own account where they could then spread false information or worse yet, steal your identity. Things from that account would be associated with you because the it is your name!
By not claiming your own name on every social network that there is, you are leaving yourself open to screw up your online presence.
How to Avoid Screwing Up Your Online Presence
1. Maintain self control.
2. Be responsible TO authority and FOR yourself.
3. Respect that others values are as important to them, as yours are to you.
4. Be willing to accept the consequences of whatever choices you make.
5. Remove yourself from the emotion of any malicious intent. Remain objective. Self evaluate. Correct any truth in what is said about you. (Do not correct what they said that was wrong, correct in yourself any truth in what they said).
6. Don’t look back. Keep moving forward.
7. Take action.