Understanding and managing your online reputation
What is my online reputation?
Your online reputation is the perception, estimation and opinion that is formed when you are encountered online. This could be when someone visits your social networking profile, but could also be when anyone reads a comment you posted on another profile. It could also be when someone sees your online photo albums or an image with you in it, indeed any instance or reference of you that either you posted or someone else did – what your digital footprint says about you.
Your online reputation will be formed through:
- Posts by you
- Posts by others but about you or linked to you
- Posts by others pretending to be you
Who does it affect?
Everyone! Obviously it applies to those who post online, however as other people could be posting information about you, you don’t even have to have been on the internet before to have an online reputation! Rory Cellan-Jones commented on a survey conducted by AVG which concluded that 23% of unborn children already have a digital footprint.
Why is online reputation important?
Many businesses and celebrities value their online identity and reputation and go to extraordinary lengths to protect it, in many cases taking legal action.
Your reputation should be important to you as it is a tool that others could and will use to make decisions about you. Clearly this could have a dramatic effect on your personal and professional lives, especially if your digital footprint is poor. Would you like a potential partner or employer to decide whether to see you or not purely based on your digital footprint? Media headlines regularly appear, such as “Disgrace of the six drinking, pole-dancing primary school teachers who published the pictures on Facebook”.
What does your profile picture or avatar say about you?
How is your online reputation different?
Remember that the internet never forgets – when you post something online it will always be there.
Who can help if you are a professional?
Our Professionals Online Safety Helpline is a free service, dedicated to help teachers, school staff and anyone working with children and young people and professional reputation is one of the most common issues we hear about from professionals. We can help with advice and information on how to help protect and manage your professional reputation.
What the research says
Information on two studies by Microsoft looking at consumer attitudes to online reputation and its role in job applications.
What can affect my online reputation?
Information about the different types of online content which can affect online reputation.
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