Managing an online identity can be a scary prospect for some. If you are a person who chooses to share everything online, including photos and personal blog posts, it can be hard to reel it in. Social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace have made it easier for people to connect with one another, but they have also made it a lot easier for people you don't know to obtain personal information.
When managing your online reputation (your personal brand), a person must decide what they would want potential employees to know about them. Do you really want your new boss to know how many drinks you had last night? Probably not. The website we visited earlier this week to calculate how digitally distinct we were is a great way to get started on finding out just how much information about you is out there.
Googling yourself is another good way to see what type of information comes up when you type in your name. Google also has a link that will send you an email every time your name shows up in anything on the web. This can be a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly search they provide for you. I recommend going through the first couple of pages of images and videos, not just the text that shows up. I would also recommend changing the privacy settings on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and any other social networking site you have.
If you want to set up a more professional image of yourself online, I recommend Linkedin.com. I set this up last night and have already received information on a potential job. This website allows you to post your resume, make connections with others in your job field, previous employers, and anyone else you may know. It seems to be a great way to network, and they post jobs in that may interest you.
The Internet can be a great tool in marketing yourself, but it can also damage your reputation without you ever being the wiser. Be smart about what people can see and learn about you; you never know who will be looking.