If you can’t seem to land a job — or maybe your friends are looking at you strangely — it may have to do with something you posted on the internet. Pictures, videos, and blogs are great ways to express yourself, but if your online profiles are visible to the public, everyone has access to it with a simple search. Here are the top five things that will kill your reputation online.
1. Posting Provocative Images Online
The last thing you want an employer finding on the Internet is you in your underwear. Pictures of you in intimate situations with others can damage your reputation. If you do have these types of images online, its best to avoid adding your name to the picture description or tags.
Keeping these pictures restricted to just your friends is another option. Also, be aware of who is taking your picture while you’re in these compromising positions.
2. Doing Stupid Stuff and Recording It
Recording crazy stunts and unflattering — or even criminal behavior — can eventually make its way to the internet and cause embarrassment or get you fired from a job. Getting drunk, fighting, destroying property, and street racing might get more page views, but recording it won’t help improve your image.
3. Ranting and Raving on Your Blog
These usually occur on blogs where you can write until you have nothing more to say. It’s usually one long monologue that attacks something specific. What comes out isn’t what you would say if you thought twice about it. Microblogs such as Twitter make it even easier to express what you are thinking.
Expressing yourself on camera can also come back to haunt you. A drive-through customer ordering at a Chick-fil-A was fired by his company for making disparaging remarks against Chick-fil-A on camera.
Another example is a Best Buy employee that who lost his job for his text to speech animated video that made fun of iPhone owners. If these videos were only seen by a handful of people, it might be inconsequential. But when these videos go viral and are the topic of discussion, the effects may be significant.
4. Creating Public Profiles on Unusual Social Networking Sites
Avoid creating public profiles on sites that are out of the mainstream. It might go against the corporate culture or just be in poor taste. Then again, if that isn’t a concern for you, go right ahead and make your profile public and be sure to include your real name.
For those of you who are concerned about what type of social footprint you have online should check out Reputation.com. They specialize at making your online presence look their best.
5. Friending the Wrong Person
As the phrase goes, keep your friends close and your enemies closer. But, it’s best to avoid friending your employer’s enemies, whether it’s rivals or actual enemies. It’s also a risky bet to send a friend request to people in cults, watch lists, and other groups not in the mainstream.
Facebook’s friends of friends feature is really popular, but it might cause issues when your posts and images start appearing on friends of friends walls and news feeds. Or worse, their posts start appearing on your wall.
Always be aware of how your online presence is viewed by others, including employers and family members. Sometimes a fun night can come back to haunt you if you aren’t careful.