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Not on the internet? You must be joking

Not on the internet? You must be joking
Tuesday 10 June, 2014

A lead story in this week was about an oil rig worker who may have seen the missing MH370 but his report was, until now, discounted.

Personally I am a bit over the story but this caught my eye: “Mr McKay’s reluctance to go public, and his complete lack of an internet presence, also raised doubts about the credibility of the report...”

The guy isn’t all over LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr and Foursquare?! You can’t Google him?!

Clearly he must be a fictional character or, at the very least, a weirdo. God knows, he probably even writes letters and has a landline!

Seeing this immediately shifted the issue of personal brand reputation management into laser-sharp focus.

If brands, managers and spokespeople have any interest in building and/or keeping their reputations and credibility, they have to play the Internet game, and play it well.

If you aren’t prepared, at least with the basics, it could have a real impact on your credibility which can affect your company and the brands you look after.

If an issue or story is elevated enough to pique the interest of the media, you can bet journalists hit Twitter and LinkedIn within seconds, then Google, Facebook and maybe even Instagram. What will they find?

Here are 10 super basic tips to maintain a modicum of online credibility so that if you see an orange flame in the sky, and you tell the authorities, they will totally believe you!

  1. Have an up-to-date LinkedIn page with at least 50 contacts. Is your job title still correct? Have you filled in your profile as much as possible?
  2. Use a simple, professionally taken (if possible) image as your headshot. No backgrounds of lounge chairs or messy pinboards. No party images – unless of course fits your personal brand.
  3. To Tweet or not? Decide if you want a profile on Twitter and if so, commit to using it daily. If you know you won’t, then don’t.
  4. If you want to follow some odd, extreme or controversial Twitterers, do it under a pseudonym name.
  5. If you don’t know what to say on Twitter but want to maintain a presence, retweet or tweet a link to an interesting article.
  6. Put a recurring appointment into your calendar to remind you to regularly visit your own social media channels.
  7. Be careful of the company you keep. Don’t accept random invitations or requests from people or companies that you have no idea about. Do your contacts reflect you and what you want to be known for?
  8. Unless Facebook is an important communication tool for you and your work, ensure privacy settings are tight.
  9. Google yourself. Seriously. Are the results acceptable?
  10.  If you’ve overdone it and want to erase yourself from some less-than-ideal online activity, check out  - a website that makes it easier to rewrite digital history.
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