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Are You Google Ready?

Most people will Google you. Here's how to improve your online reflection.

Source: Pexel

New year, new you but can one Google search bring back haunting memories that you may have thought were buried?

In today's climate of tweet regrets and post remorse, it's almost a weekly basis we are reading about someone that is apologizing for their online behavior. Maybe it was from a decade ago (maturity hadn't arrived yet) or maybe it was a lapse of judgment or maybe they were a target of shaming, either way, we have to remember the internet is unforgiving.

15 minutes can be a lifetime online

In an age where people are seeking their 15 minutes of fame, especially online, one negative tweet or post can linger forever.

A new study by JDP surveyed 2,000 Americans to find out how much people researched each other online when dating and if they liked the results.

You don't get a second chance to make a first impression. Today your first impression is what the internet says about you. — Sue Scheff

It's no surprise that the majority of Americans admit to using their search engines to do some digital digging on their potential dates.

  • 76 percent spend 15 minutes or more on research, per person.
  • Two-thirds say they go "most" or "all the way" back in a person's social media profile.
  • 40 percent have backed out of a date because of something they found researching online.

The majority of people (63 percent) say they aren't embarrassed by their pre-date investigations, as they shouldn't be. We must all take the pre-cautions both online and offline.

However, what about those old immature posts that may find their way back to life? What if you were a victim of revenge porn or shaming? What if you were a target of internet defamation?

Your digital reflection

It's never too late to take control of your online reputation. I remind people of this regularly.

Your online reputation is an extension of your online behavior which is a reflection of your offline character. - Sue Scheff

Take time to re-examine your social media platforms, especially the ones you are most active on.

According to the JDP survey, 88 percent of people are looking at your Facebook page first, followed by a Google search at 70 percent and in third place is Instagram at 53 percent.

Although many people rely on their privacy settings, this is a good reminder that we should have zero expectation of privacy when we post on social media. Post as if the world is watching - in many ways, they are.

3 Ways to review and improve your online (behavior) history:

1. You are what you post. Implement the 20-40-60 rule. If you can read all your posts and not offend anyone in those age groups, you're good.

2. Words and tone matter. Words online can translate differently offline. Review the tone—all caps can mean screaming. Too many exclamation points can be leaning towards rage.

3. Be interested in others. Are you someone that is always sharing about yourself, but never engaged in others? Humble-bragger?

Police your online reputation

Now that you're reviewing your history, let's be sure you are proactive before a digital disaster strikes.

Today a lot of online shaming happens on social media. I always tell people—a tweet storm is fleeting but search results are long lasting.

An easy way to stay proactive is signing up for a free online monitoring tool—it scans the first few pages of your Google search to monitor use of your name. This will alert you on the movement of when your name is mentioned (positive and negative) so you can catch it early. Especially if it's a case of shaming, bullying or a disgruntled client - you want to know so you can address it accordingly.

Stay vigilant and proactive in both maintaining your online presence and behavior. Whether you are dating, changing jobs or want to keep the one you have (the majority of workplaces today have social media policies)—we're all click away from life changing experiences.


2018 JDP Survey

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