Have you googled yourself lately? What does the Internet search reveal about you? With each hashtag, blog post, tweet, and online project at a time, you’re building your online reputation whether you want to or not. In the absence of professional branding, your online persona brands you. Curation of our online personal data is more important than ever. This is because our online information and interactions are being used to analyze us for commercial benefit, credit ratings, job selection, relationships, health care decisions, harassment, law enforcement, and machine learning (Matsakis, 2019).
I’m putting together a few basic curation tasks in the ‘recipe’ below for a class lesson. Curation, of course, will take ongoing effort. These are simple actions to get you started.
Curating Your Online Persona
Time: Ready in minutes based on diversity of digital tools used and length of your digital footprint
Serves: Average technology users
- Log out of all accounts to fully see information that you publicly shared.
- Use alphanumericsymbolic passphrases for strong login credentials (e.g., @T!mBuk2B42Long). Create different ones for different types of accounts.
- Consider the long-term impact of posting or otherwise reacting online.
- Subscribe to a technical news service that shares how to keep your data safe such as Mashable, TechCrunch or Wired.
- Search for your name on different Internet browsers (e.g., Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari). View at least the first three pages of results to find older accounts that you may have forgotten about and should close.
- Use Google’s reverse image search tool to see if your shared photos (e.g., headshot, Facebook profile, or wedding pictures) are used elsewhere without permission. For example, did you know that FB profile photos are publicly available? Anyone could be reusing or repurposing them.
- Set short and long-term goals based on your findings and personal insight.
- Set up a Google Alert on your name to stay informed of its mentions on the Internet.
- Cleanse unprofessional social media posts. For example, use GoCardigan to remove retweets and likes on Twitter. Why? Twitter users can delete their own tweets but not their reactions to others.
- Close compromised or unused online accounts to safeguard your data and reduce your digital footprint. Review Wikipedia’s list of data breaches. Recheck the list periodically.
- Tighten the privacy settings on your social media accounts.
Please share your techniques and issues in safeguarding your online persona. I’ll continue to add to this post as I dive deeper into this topic and as new technologies surface.
Bates, C. (2018). Take charge of your online reputation. Educause. Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2018/10/take-charge-of-your-online-reputation
Internet safety and cyber security awareness for college students. (N.D.) Retrieved from https://www.cyberdegrees.org/resources/internet-safety-for-college-students/
Matsakis, L. (2019). The Wired guide to personal data collection. Condé Nast. Retrieved from https://www.wired.com/story/wired-guide-personal-data-collection/
Sandra Annette Rogers, Ph.D