Living Online: What does your brand say about you?

February 4th, 2011

The internet has become an intrinsic part of daily lives. It’s no longer just a tool, but a catalyst for social change, culture, business and the way we communicate. Most people socialize, work, shop, research, network, and do almost everything right from their browsers.

The “Internet Age” as some would call it, has taken the world by storm and literally has change the game in many ways. Anyone has a chance to standout: The young and intelligent have made billions from it and the everyday “Joe,” turned internet sensations has cashed in thousands. We are embarking on something new and the world is a buzz.

Everyone is talking Facebook, Google, Youtube and Twitter, but importantly everyone is talking…online. This blog will explore some of the highlights, pitfalls, and successes of ‘Living Online.’

When we think of public figures: celebrities, politicians, and athletes usually come to mind…not our next door neighbor. However, in the age of the Internet and social media the meaning of public figure gets blurrier by the day. Mainly, because most of us live our lives online. One in every 13 people in the world have Facebook, and three out of every four Americans is on Facebook. Lets face it people aren’t calling their best friend to blab about their day, they’re taking their rants online and what used to be private is now public. This leads to a very important question: What does your online brand say about you? Not sure, simply Google your name and there lies your answer

A quick Google search of some college buddies revealed information that was alarming and a bit unsettling. The search results revealed recent post from their Twitter and Facebook accounts, which publicly displayed status updates about their life: what and who they don’t like, party pictures, where they checked in on Four Square…and the list just goes on. What they failed to realize is that they’ve created a brand for themselves and anyone, including potential employers can see it, with just a click of the mouse.

Once the cat’s out the bag, it can’t be let back in…
It’s dangerous to assume anything is private. Many people trust privacy settings to protect their personal information from getting out to the public. However, they don’t realize that the Internet is full of side doors, that can leak personal information out. With just a simple screenshot someone can document a post and once the cat’s out the bag, it can’t be let back in. People can also gain access to your page by creating avatars to friend or follow you. The truth is, it’s not difficult to find gaping holes in the Internet’s privacy systems.

So what’s the solution…unplug yourself from social media completely? Don’t participate in any online forums? Refuse to engage in any public affairs?  In that case you may as well lock yourself up in a dark room away from the world, away from all of the positive attributes the Internet has to offer.

The internet not only connects people to their friends and networks, but also the world. With just one click, you can reach millions. It’s the single most powerful tool of communication today, opening up endless possibilities for all. The Internet levels the playing field  in business, entertainment, and communication. Anyone can create a website, upload a video to Youtube, or get a Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace account. These platforms are easily available to use or view by anyone, which can be a great place to get a message out. Most aspiring entrepreneurs, musicians, journalist, business owner today look to the web to disperse their product or message. The internet has become a place where people work, play, interact and live. So, how do you manage your reputation online?

A less extreme approach is simply becoming, “brand conscience.” Make sure you’re comfortable with everything you put online, possibly becoming public. The internet is a powerful tool, but if used negligently it can tarnish your reputation forever.

Related news articles:
The internet and the ‘end of privacy’
Managing your online reputation
FTC tells Twitter to protect private data of users

2 Responses to “Living Online: What does your brand say about you?”

  1. Can I just say what a relief to find someone who actually knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I cant believe youre not more popular because you definitely have the gift.

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