Many people are dependent on web searches to get to know other people. The digital footprints that people leave behind enable clients and employers to accurately assess people and businesses based on how they present themselves. You can make a good or terrible first impression without ever meeting someone in person. And because first impressions are extremely hard to live down, making sure it is a good one is vital to advancing your career or helping people get to know you better.
Moreover, the Internet is fond of blowing things out of proportion. A person who makes one too many a faux pas might find himself to be a laughing stock of the world overnight. Likewise, the wanton and careless sharing of information can prove harmful to interpersonal and professional relationships. Regardless of its nature, content about you that finds its way on the Internet will remain online indefinitely and would reflect on your reputation. Crucial life mistakes can be difficult to move past and can negatively affect your career or business prospects.
Of course, in an online world where online reputation management exists, some degree of damage control can be accomplished when the damage has been made. Likewise, it would also help if you took the initiative to protect your online self or the brand identity of your business through responsible proactive efforts that allow you to set up a way to defend your online integrity before the need arises.
Common wisdom dictates that the easiest way to do this is to keep private things away from social media. This is accomplished by policing what you say and what you post (and who could see those posts) on the Internet, as well as taking tighter reins on what your family and friends tag about you. The limitations of these aside, leveraging privacy settings to demarcate the line between your personal and public life can help shape the way people see you online.
The rest of the proactive reputation management formula is to have as much meaningful (if not positive) content tied to your name on the Internet, which naturally begins with your own social media and working up from there as needed. Building from this, the first part of the challenge to keep your good name safe online has been accomplished.