Some people who “Google” themselves on the Internet might not like what they see. And what is it that they see? It could be a poor choice of words on social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter, compromising photos, or other potentially harmful references from their past—all of which could hurt them on a professional level.
However, never fear: these things can be fixed with the “5 Cs” of bulletproofing your online identity, which are as follows:
Step #1: Check
Some of the search results might actually be about somebody else who has the same name. As such, those results have nothing to do with you and there’s nothing you can do about them. If you have a common name, though, you might have to engage in a deeper level of investigation to discover which results are about you and which ones are not.
Step #2: Change
The good news is that you can usually fix your “misbehavior” on social media sites. Simply login your account and then delete what you have said or posted. Once the information is deleted, no track of evidence can be found on the website. (Keep in mind, though, that people can take a screenshot of your posts or photos, so the best strategy is to not put yourself in this position in the first place.)
Step #3: Correct
Let’s say that for whatever reason, something you’ve posted on social media can not be deleted completely. If that’s the case, try to do some “damage control” about the content. Correct it with an explanation, and if it merits one, also offer an apology. That way, if somebody does find incriminating evidence, they’ll also find your attempts to atone for it.
Step #4: Challenge
Then there’s the matter of other people posting information about you that’s false. In a situation such as this, you must challenge them and explain the damage they’re creating by continuing to allow such information to exist. Perhaps it was a miscommunication and/or a misunderstanding, which can cause serious problems. Be proactive in preventing such problems to occur.
Step #5: Care
If you want satisfying search results when somebody “Googles” your name, then you should care about and be careful about what you post and examine and screen what others post about you. Guard your online reputation as closely as you can, and monitor it as much as possible.
This is an ongoing process. Once you go through the “5 Cs” once, you’ll have to cycle through them again at some point in the future.