Who Am I?

My last post defined what a reputation is and we know we can have online and offline reputations – some of which can be very disparate.

So the real question is – who are you? How do people perceive you and how do you want people to perceive you? Moreso,  how can you affect one’s perception of you?

Connections. Connections rule the web. Whether you are a business wanting to be connected to other businesses or a person wishing to connect with like minded people – the whole web runs off the principle that everything connects. Google even helps promote sites on their search engine results pages based on the connections or links they have with other sites. Linkedin and Facebook have created business models out of people connecting.

Connections forms the first part of your reputation. Who does this person know and who are they associated with? What information is shared with the world just because you are connected. I can be connected with people in my industry from a professional stand point allowing people to see my field of work. I can be connected with businesses and online shops where my profile of purchases is retained in a database. I can be connected with old and new friends on social media sites allowing people to see who I mix with and in a lot of cases – what I do when I mix with those people. Do I play sport and if so, what sport. Do I socialise in bars and where. Do I play board games, play music or even dress up in medieval dress – your interests and interactions are now more than ever out in the public domain.

The second building block in your reputation is what your connections say about you. Do they recommend you on linked in, do people tag you in photos on facebook and write comments on your wall, does amazon recommend books to you based on your purchase history and connections with their sellers.

The third building block is what you say about your connections. Do you tag your friends or write comments on their wall? Do you recommend people on linked in or write book reviews on amazon? Do you write hotel reviews, publish blogs about your views, participate in online forums.

Although a lot of the sites that house your connections are disparate – it is becoming increasingly easier to find that information about anybody and for people to form opinions based on their preception of who you are.

I believe social media and web 3.0 is going to increase the web’s openess making it easier for everyone to view your connections. Even now there are packages like seesmic where you can aggregate your twitter and facebook accounts to control the flow of information from you or about you.

Remember – the 3 keys to Online Reputation Management are:

  1. Monitor where information about you is found
  2. Analyse what people are saying or how people are perceiving your comments
  3. Influence – write, write, write. The more you write and get your ideas out there, the more influence you will have on people’s perception of you.

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