You may not realize it, but computer “bots” continually scan the Internet and collect your personal information…including information you don’t even realize is online. Like your address and phone number. It is scoured from such public records as online telephone directories, driver license bureaus and the local courthouses that maintain legal records of property ownership. That has an impact on your physical security as well as your privacy…especially if you are a high-profile CEO.
Losing Control Over your Public Image
Maintaining a low profile in business or in their personal lives is a longstanding tactic used by individuals with high professional positions. Minimizing the visibility that results from too many media interviews or too frequent a presence on social media prevents overexposure and can add longevity to careers. Many celebrities and industry professionals in all sectors have maintained their standing for decades because they — and their managers — have carefully ensured they never become overexposed.
Unfortunately, in the Internet culture, such tactics also means that there can be little online about them that they or their representatives have placed online and have control over. This means that whatever else is said about them online rises to the top of searches and stays there. When you are responsible for the majority of the factual information about you or your organization that appears on the first two pages of a Google search, you ensure that no matter what else is said, it is counterbalanced. When you don’t do that, you have lost control over your public image. It is far harder and more time-consuming to regain it than to establish it in the first place. As a specialist in online reputation management for “influencers,” including advising Forbes and Fortune 500 clients, many of the issues we have resolved for our clients result from exactly that situation.
If You Don’t Tell Your Story, Someone Else Will
Bottom line: telling your story is a vital aspect of managing the reputation of an individual or an organization online and off.
If you don’t tell your story, someone else will. Effective online reputation management entails “telling your story” online in an authentic way, then making sure that story appears in appropriate online platforms. Your story may be as short as you want it to be. If and when someone attempts to establish a different story, yours will provide a more factual and credible reference. If you are a high-visibility individual and your story has already been told, there are many ways to add a fresh page to it – or a new chapter.
Celebrities have a range of options to do so. With TMZ paying a reported $5,000 for tips and paparazzi following many 24/7, they face continuous privacy challenges online and off. That is a great motivator.