Managing Your Online Reputation

Picking up on my last post here at Slaw (Social Media and Background Checks), I recently came across some excellent commentary from some heavyweight legal bloggers about managing one’s online reputation.

It begins with Jim Calloway’s post Online Reputation Management: First Rule is to Avoid Self-Inflicted Wounds. That really is the first rule and the one that is sometimes forgotten “in the moment”. Jim writes:

As we have seen with many well-documented Facebook and Twitter stories, the biggest potential danger area for damage to your online reputation is you. We saw it happen with flame e-mailing when angry and now you can post your anger or missteps online for the entire world to see with social networking.

But what others write about us can also have an impact. According to a 2009 Neilsen Global Survey:

Recommendations from personal acquaintances or opinions posted by consumers online are the most trusted forms of advertising, according to the latest Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey of over 25,000 Internet consumers from 50 countries.

Albeit in a slightly different context, this quote is instructive, as it shows that online information is a critical source of decision making. Increasingly so.

Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell have released a podcast on the subject. Here’s Dennis’s post.

Check out, for example, the new MIT Personas to see what’s on the internet about you (or at least someone that shares your name). A bit of a cottage industry has grown up around the concerns about managing the online reputation. As examples, Defendmyname and Reputation Defender.

Again, what you post on the internet can have broad implications on your life and career. What others write about you can also have profound implications.


  1. I discussed an interesting angle about online reputation management yesterday with a client. On the web generally, one can do things like persistent Google searches to monitor what people are saying about you. If needed, you can then take steps to address that (whether that is providing facts or your own comment, or requesting a provider to remove offending content, or just accepting responsiblity and correcting the wrong). With a closed system like Facebook, however, groups can be formed that include negative comments one may never know about.

  2. I’m personally not a huge fan of Reputation Defender because it is still retroactive rather than proactive in orientation.

    Defend My Name essentially does what social media geeks do for themselves all the time.

    Although this talk I gave was oriented for a political crowd, the principles still hold true.

    I’ve said it many times before, even the most respected legal names in the industry have been easily targeted and are incredibly vulnerable.

  3. Timothy Weissbrot

    I fully agree with all the information has been presented here , everybody today has to take into consideration that their reputation is in danger over the net , each and every single day ! I suggest that at least once a week , everybody will google his name and the name of his company , just to check if there are any negative posts on the first two pages of google .