February 09, 2012

Online Image: Google Checks You May Not Have Thought About

When it comes to your professional identity goes I'm sure you know by now that one of the most dangerous places is the Internet. You have to keep track of both what you post and what others say about you. I'm sure by now you have the basics covered: strong privacy settings, care of what images you post online, and occasional Google searches of your name. However, there may be something a little less obvious that could come back to haunt you.

To explain let's start with a basic Google search. If you plug in your name you may find your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or other popular social networking profiles. These sites usually all have something in common though that can provide more information about the online life you may have thought you were living anonymously. On most social networks you have to pick a username to identify yourself and create a link to your profile. Most people tend to use the same one for everything. This can be good for branding, but it can be bad too if you really do use the same name for everything.

This means those anonymous posts you made on message boards without using your real name, that secret dating site profile, angry comments on a blog, your profile on a diet site, your frequent post's on a controversial politician's message board, and all sorts of other things you may not want seen can easily be found now just by plugging in that user name. This can potentially be even more embarrassing if you're someone who has used the same online name since you were a teenager. So, don't just be careful what you post in association with your name, watch what you do with that username too.

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