online identity management

December 17, 2007

Do you Google yourself? If not, you should. You’d be surprised at what you find about yourself online.

Pew/Internet and American Life Project released a report recently on the digital footprints we leave online.

Highlights include:

  • Internet users are becoming more aware of their digital footprint. 47% have searched for information about themselves online, up from just 22% five years ago.
  • Few monitor their online presence with great regularity. Just 3% of self-searchers report that they make a regular habit of it.
  • 60% of internet users say they are not worried about how much information is available about them online.
  • One in ten internet users have a job that requires them to self-promote or market their name online.
  • More than half of all adult internet users have used a search engine to follow others’ footprints.

How are you managing your online identity?

CBC Spark’s Nora Young interviewed Mitch Joel recently about online identity management. Joel talks about the misconception that “if I don’t look, it must not exist”, but odds are that you’ll be there.

Based on a survey by MSN Canada and Ipsos Reid, “four in ten Canadians don’t know how to use the Internet to promote themselves or their careers”.

Things to think about when presenting your personal brand online include:

  • be selective about your email address (consider a domain name)
  • do an ego search (what are people saying online about you?)
  • have a consistent user name and profile photo across social networks
  • check often and update frequently

Opportunities for creating an online identity include:

  • create your own content (consider a blog)
  • start tagging yourself in photos and videos
  • “trust” is who you are connected to

Remember: “Your brand isn’t what you say it is, it’s what the search engines say it is”.

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