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January 10, 2017
Who ARE You Online? A 4-Step Guide to Managing Your Online Presence
 
“Who are you? Who, who, who, who?”
— The Who

I consider a company’s website to be its “online face” — and since first impressions are hugely important, your site better be a good one.

It’s the same for people. Personally and professionally, today you often “meet” people online before you do so in person.

Managing your online presence is a crucial thing that you HAVE to do — for friends, colleagues, future employers, and pretty much everyone else. So make sure you’re careful with what you put out there, and do these four things to be the best “You” that you can be online.

#1: Google yourself. 
You might do this occasionally, just to see what comes up. Some of you do it every day — you cheeky monkeys.

But typing your name into a Google search is a pretty important thing to do on a regular basis. Hopefully, it’s always good stuff like links to your social media accounts or your blog or that time you ran into a burning building to save a kitten.

If you’re more of a private person — or you see some things you don’t want to pop up — you can try to have some of those search results removed.

#2: See how much Klout you have. 
Klout, if you don’t know about it, is a site that basically measures your “impact” online by looking at your interactions on social media, blogs, etc.

It’s not the be-all/end-all of your online presence — some people have questioned their algorithms and how they create their rankings — but I consider it to be a decent barometer.

As of this writing, I’m hovering around 59 or 60 score. It’s kind of like a C+ in grading terms. Above average, but not a valedictorian. (Story of my life.)

#3: Endorse me, recommend me, tell me I’m pretty!
This tip is all about LinkedIn, which is cooler than most people realize. It’s also a great place to pat yourself — and others — on the back.
 
Getting people to “endorse” you for specific skills is pretty much a karmic thing — you need to do it first. It’s many people’s first reaction — to reciprocate and click to say “Sure, he’s great at cross-functional team leadership.”

Sometimes it’s fun to fall into an “endorsement black hole” and just keep clicking “Endorse” — it’s OK; LinkedIn will keep giving you more and more people.

But the Holy Grail on LinkedIn is the Recommendation — a (hopefully-not-too-brief) note from a colleague, employee, or boss saying how great you were/are to work with. I’ve been lucky enough to get more than 40 of them, and I always reciprocate by posting one for those kind-hearted souls.
 
#4: Stalk yourself.
This one’s a little harder, but valuable both personally and professionally. Find someone you trust who you’re NOT connected to (yet?) and have them take a look at your social accounts.

That way, you’ll see what people outside your social/work circles see when they find you online.

Maybe you want to hide more of your Facebook photos, or be more inviting with your LinkedIn profile. Regardless, you might be surprised how much there is (or isn’t) about you online.

AND A REMINDER: Who’s watching you?
A couple times a year, go through your Facebook friends, your Twitter followers, and your LinkedIn connections. (If you want to go nuts, check your Pinterest and Instagram pals too.)

Is everybody still there? OK, that’s probably hard to figure out. But there are sites out there that can help you see who disconnected or unfollowed you — and you might have lost a connection for no good reason. (Like maybe they started a new Facebook account and forgot to re-friend you.)

So take care of yourself (online). And if you’d like to, share a funny story about your online presence in the comments below!

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With 20+ years of experience — both at agencies and "on the client side" — Harley David Rubin has enjoyed many challenges and opportunities in his career. He's currently freelancing, with an eye toward starting his own creative communications company. And he loves to share the stories and "wisdom" he's accumulated over the years. (Because what writer doesn't love talking about himself?) He's truly thankful for the opportunity to write for TalentZoo.com, and he's happy to connect via LinkedIn or even on Twitter at @hdrubin.
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