Monday, March 21, 2016

Digital Identity : How to Manage Your Online Reputation


Is Your “Online Reputation” Overshadowing Your “Offline Reputation”...?
Tips for Managing Your Web Identity


Soon – a time will come  when Your Digital Footprint will carry more weight than what you write on your Resume or CV.

I am sure you know the meaning of the term “DIGITAL FOOTPRINT”.

Your digital footprint is the record or trail left by all the things you do online on the internet.

Your Digital Footprint includes all your Social Media activity (on Social Networking Sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora, WhatsApp, Instagram etc)  your Blogging and Online Writing  all information about you on the internet  on various websites  your browsing history  your online subscriptions  any photo galleries and videos you have uploaded or others have uploaded about you  essentially, anything on the Internet with your name on it.

Anything you post, tweet, comment, or “like” on a blog/social media – or what others post about you  is going down as a permanent record in cyberspace on your digital footprint.

In a nutshell  your digital footprint is everything on the internet that is about you.

Since you rarely think twice about putting things online  your digital footprint can be pretty large and extensive without you even realizing it.

Have you ever “Googled” yourself...?

An easy way to check out your digital footprint is to “Google” your own name  and you will be amazed when you see number of hits and the extensive and diverse information about you on the internet.


In today’s world you have Two Reputations:

1. OFFLINE REPUTATION (in the physical real world)

2. ONLINE REPUTATION (in the virtual world or cyberspace)

Unless you are a celebrity  your “offline reputation” is restricted and known to only those persons in your proximity, at work, in your social circles and personal life.

However  your “online reputation” is all pervasive  and is available for scrutiny by anyone throughout the world who has access to the internet.

If I want to know about you  all I have to do is to “google” your name or search your details on websites, search engines or social networks.

Potential employers  or prospective spouses  or those desirous of getting into a relationship with you  can easily carry out a basic background check on you by just surfing the internet.

(Earlier  before the advent of the internet  you had to ask some mutual acquaintance  or make discreet inquiries  or hire a detective to find out information about somebody)

The fact of the matter is that  in today’s connected world  your online reputation is easily accessible  and it matters more than your offline reputation.

In the same way that your personality (real-world offline identity) is important for your offline reputation  your online identity plays an important role in determining your online reputation.


Your online identity consists of two things:

1. What you say about yourself on the internet (your “Owned Identity”)

2. What others say about you on the internet (your “Earned Identity”)


Your OWNED IDENTITY comprises whatever information you upload on the internet.

Your owned identity will comprise so many things like:

1. Whatever you upload on social networking sites like Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Quora, WhatsApp etc including your profiles, pictures, photos, status reports, tweets, comments – anything and everything you upload about yourself.

2. Your Blogs

3. Your Websites (personal, professional and company)

4. All your writings and postings on the web which you post on the internet on various websites, online journals and e-magazines, forums, networks, groups, emails, documents, presentations – anything and everything you put on the internet.

5. Various “profiles” and “avatars” you create on the web – like, for example, your profiles on job search sites and matrimonial sites.

To put it metaphorically  your owned identity is like having a permanent tattoo – it can never be fully erased.


Your EARNED IDENTITY is what others “say” about you on the internet.

Your earned identity includes:

1. Information about you on Social Networking Sites like postings about you on Facebook by your friends (status, tags, pictures, photos, comments), recommendations and endorsements on LinkedIn, Retweets/Mentions of your Tweets by others on Twitter etc

2. Articles, Blog Posts, Wikis, Biographical Writings etc written about you which are available on the internet (these are things written about you by others  what you write about yourself on the internet becomes a part of your owned identity)

3. Various “profiles” created by others about you at various places on the web.

4. Various networks and websites that link to you

5. Miscellaneous information about you available on the internet – for example, your examination results uploaded online by your university, education board, UPSC etc or results of job selection interviews promulgated online.

To use a metaphor  your Earned Identity is like “Branding” an animal – where a permanent mark is stamped on you by someone else.


Your “owned identity” is in your control.

You must be circumspect about what you upload on the internet.

Even a small slip-up online  like an injudicious piece of writing on your blog  an indiscreet photo, an imprudent relationship status update or a stray remark on social networks – or a careless comment  has the potential of damaging your reputation in future – and may cause you harm in your offline life.

Your “earned identity” is not in your control.

Sometimes  your “earned identity” matters more than your “owned identity”.

This is because people may be curious to find out what others have to say about you  than what you say about yourself.

Even if you avoid the internet altogether  you cannot avoid having an “earned identity”.

This is because someone else may upload some writing or material about you on the web  especially if you are a celebrity  or remain in the news for something or the other.

That is why famous people  like ancient philosophers, politicians and writers  who lived much before the advent of internet  have “earned identities” – and consequently they have “online reputations”.

So remember  going offline and avoiding the internet is not the solution – it is similar to a pigeon closing its eyes to avoid seeing danger  or an ostrich burying his head in the sand approach.

In today’s information technology driven connected world  you cannot afford to bury your head in the sand like an ostrich  and live in denial.

You cannot avoid an online reputation.

Whether you like it or not  whether you use internet or not  you will have an online reputation.

So  it is in your interest to be aware of your digital footprint, web identity and online reputation  and try your best to manage these to your advantage.


Do a simple experiment.

Just “google” your name and see the results of the search.

What are the top few results?

How many “hits” pertain to your “owned reputation” ?

How many “hits” pertain to your “earned reputation” ?

Which “hits” appear on top?

If you want to manage your online reputation you must ensure that links pertaining to “owned reputation” (what you say about yourself) appear as the top search results as compared to “earned reputation” (what others say about you).

As far as your online reputation is concerned, what you say about yourself (owned reputation) must have more prominence than what others say about you (earned reputation).

Remember that your “owned identity” and “owned reputation” are in your control because you can always control what to say about yourself on the internet.

But your “earned identity” and “earned reputation” may not be in your full control since you cannot control what others say about you on the internet.

Therefore, in a nutshell, if you want to control your online reputation, you will have to “say” more about yourself on the internet than others “say” about you.

How do you do this?

It is simple.

Get active on the internet – Blog regularly  Tweet vigorously  and maintain a dynamic presence on social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Quora etc and on various Forums and groups  and make sure you network effectively.

You must be conscious of your online reputation.

With the proliferation of the internet  your “online reputation” will overshadow your “offline reputation”.

Remember  if someone wants to do a background check on you, for whatever reason  to hire you for a job  to check you out as a marriage prospect  or they just want to find out more about you  all they have to do is to “google” your name.

Then  they can ingeniously delve a bit  and explore your online identity (web shadow) – and discover your online reputation – yes  all that will matter is your online reputation.

Therefore  it is imperative that you establish an effective web presence  and be proactively conscious of your digital footprint, web identity and online reputation.

You must be careful to build a good online reputation  and you must make constant efforts to monitor your digital footprint and manage your online reputation.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

These are my personal views. I am not an IT Professional or SEO Expert. I am a simple internet user, a Blogger and user of Social Networks. These tips are based on my personal experience. They may or may not work for you, so please do your own due diligence while using the internet.

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Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

ONLINE REPUTATION MANAGEMENT Tips for Building and Managing Your Web Identity By VIKRAM KARVE on this blog at url:  and  and  etc

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