Protecting Your Online Reputation

Protecting Your Online Reputation

( – The internet can feel anonymous — the kind of place where you can say or do virtually anything, especially if you’re behind a pseudonym. The reality, of course, is often much different. Almost anything you say or do online can be traced back to you, and the content you share never really goes away. Here’s how to ensure those posts don’t come back to bite you in a big way later on down the line.

Remember: Deletion Doesn’t Always Work

There’s a common misconception that one can simply delete an online post — whether it’s a blog, social media post or picture — that causes problems, never having to worry about it again. But deleting posts isn’t a “get out of jail free” card. There’s no guarantee someone won’t save it, reshare it, or use it against you later on. Archival services such as the Wayback Machine might also keep a copy, rendering that poorly-thought-out post visible to the nosy for years to come.

Think Before You Post

The University of Delaware suggests you give some thought to what you share. Do this every time you post or take an action online that other people have access to.

Ask yourself:

  • Would I say it in person?
  • Is it appropriate for my family to see?
  • Is it something I would want professional contacts to see?
  • Is there a chance someone might use this info against me?

If you answered no to any of these questions, then you probably shouldn’t post it. Use tact and care with how you phrase your words and what information you share.

Keep Personal Information Private

Experian explains that putting personal information online can damage your reputation and put you at a higher risk of identity theft. Yet, sharing your “story” can be a great way to develop a following or audience online. You should wield this double-edged sword with great care.

Think carefully before sharing anything extremely personal. While it might seem wise at the time to blog about the awful divorce you’re going through, or the custody struggles you’re having with your ex, sharing that information could lead to embarrassment or legal troubles. Some topics really are better kept private, especially if others can use your words against you.

Also, be wary of sharing financial details or location changes. Scammers may see it as an opportunity to cause you harm.

The internet is not your diary, and you shouldn’t use it as one. Keep your private life off the online stage. If you need to vent or share information about yourself, call a friend or send a text to a family member. Strangers and internet acquaintances don’t need to know about every single thing that happens in your life.

In a world where the internet is such an integral part of our lives, online reputation really does matter. You hold the key to protecting it by being smart about your actions. Always think twice before posting anything, and avoid oversharing whenever you can. Being proactive will help prevent problems before they occur.

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