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Face to Face – Talking Online – Taking it Off Line

facetoface1Source: ReputationDefender Blog

 

Taking it Offline: The Lingering Importance of Face-to-Face Networking in a Digital World

With the rise and blossoming of online networking sites like LinkedIn and ClaimID, many people, especially younger people, are doing the majority of their business networking online. This phenomenon is not anything new, and it has been covered in this blog and elsewhere.

 

But while it may be easier to sit in front of the computer screen and interact with your peers, it is hard to think that interpersonal relationships can ever be fully fleshed out (if you will) in the digital sphere. Face-to-face networking will never go away. The information on the Internet is not always accurate (although that doesn’t mean it isn’t relevant, according to Google’s algorithms), and there is a lot to be said for looking someone in the eyes.

 

Today people should try to balance their “new school” digital networking with the “old school” tried and true methods. The approach will literally double the amount of chances a person has to make an impact with a potential employer, and the effort required to do so is not unreasonable (point of fact, until a few years the “old school” method was the only game in town).

 

LinkedIn and other popular business networking sites thrive because they offer an alternative to actually speaking with a fellow networker. The information you put in the profile becomes the equivalent of a hand shake and a greeting. Thus, a user profile, for business purposes, should be looked at as an opportunity to distinguish yourself as someone others want to know and be connected to.

 

There are small and effective steps one can take to achieve this. Focus on brevity. 100 words is enough to grab someone’s attention and establish a positive image. If done correctly, a LinkedIn profile can, for practical purposes, be the difference between just another interview and a job offer. Conversely, a poorly written profile can have you knocked out of the running before you even get started.

 

Many employers look at LinkedIn as a sort of research tool. A resume can only say so much about a person, and employers are always looking to find out the little bits about a potential employee that are not immediately apparent. This fact has had disastrous consequences for some people whose Facebook and MySpace profiles contain otherwise unflattering images/language/etc. We’ve blogged that story here more than once.

 

Online business networking profiles are still just a piece of the puzzle, though. A successful blend of the old and the new networking techniques will counteract the deficiencies inherent in both approaches. A human touch in the new digital landscape goes a long way towards maintaining awareness and crafting image, while drawing in more localized business and opening channels previously untapped.

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Sue Scheff: Slime Online – What is Google Saying about You?

slimonline2Yesterday my co-author, John Dozier  and I, announced our exciting new book that will be released in fall 2009 from Health Communications, Inc.  Then I read this article that I could really identify with. Slimed Online from Portfolio.com.

Michael Fertik, CEO and Founder of ReputationDefender, was powerful force in helping these women fight for their online image.  As a client of ReputationDefender, their services are priceless – although there seems to be many of these services popping up now, as the demand grows, I feel that in my experiences, the pioneer of these online reputation management companies start with ReputatationDefender.

Our new book, Google Bomb will be a must read for anyone and everyone that works and plays online. From protecting your online profile and reputation, to keeping your kids safe, this new book is a must have – and can potentially help you from being a victim of wicked and evil keystrokes.

Years ago gossip was limited to a geographically area that you live in.  Today gossip goes viral worldwide!  Your one former friend is now a foe or a few clients out of years of a reputable business have decided to take revenge via e-venge!  Take cover, Google Bomb can help you protect yourself.

Sue Scheff: Don’t Let the Web Kill what You Love

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”

Warren Buffett said that, before the invention of the Internet. Now, in the information age, the statement has never been more truthful. That is why I started a business, ReputationDefender, that is all about protecting reputations.

Your good name, and the reputations of your family, business, and everything you love, is valuable.  So, when your neighbor, a customer, or a love interest plugs your name into a search engine, what will they find?

Anyone can come along and slam you online and if that happens, search results for your name might be dominated by negative, incomplete, or even false information.  A hostile online comment might represent the uncommon experience of a dissatisfied customer or disgruntled neighbor, but due to the structure of search engines, that single opinion can be greatly amplified and made to look like a universal point of view. You might fall victim to the sniping of an anonymous blogger or even a competitor posing as an angry customer.

It’s not only easy to publish half-truths, innuendo, and falsehoods on the Internet, it’s also easy to make them stick.  Many people who publish negative web content know how to make it maximally destructive.  Lies, rumors, or memes take flight easily, getting repeated, added to, and generally magnified. Even though some of these narratives are discovered to be false, very few of them get debunked as loudly as they are broadcasted in the first place. As a result, false content often becomes more visible on the web than, say, well-researched articles from reputable news sources.  It might seem illogical that bogus speculation can end up dominating searches for you, but that’s how a rumor mill works.

A great strength of the Internet is that it gives everyone a voice.  That’s also one of its dangers: it can endow fraudsters and idle speculators with the appearance of authority. 

The danger is real. This does not mean you should stop using the Internet.  It means that you must proactively establish your accurate and positive presence on the web before there is a problem.  You need to maximize your control over what people find about you, before someone else does it for you.

There are options. Companies have developed software solutions for online reputation protection.  ReputationDefender, which is now a partner with TheStreet.com network, is my company, and we do just that.

Michael Fertik is the Founder and CEO of ReputationDefender, the online reputation management and privacy company.

Sue Scheff: What is Google Saying About You?

Source: Portfolio.com

Forget your references, your ­résumé, and the degree on your wall. “Whatever’s in the top 10 ­results of a search for your name on Google—that’s your [professional] image,” says Chris Martin, founder of the small internet company Reputation Hawk, which is one of several outfits that focus on keeping that top 10 clean for their clients.

For victims of cyber-slurs, cleanup doesn’t necessarily mean removing bad press. Companies like eVisibility, Converseon, and 360i concentrate on generating ­positive content—but not too much at one time. If Google detects a ­sudden flood of suspicious Web postings, it will assign them low trust scores, preventing them from rising to the top of search results.

Nino Kader, CEO of International Reputation Management, uses a positive-content approach, calling its strategy a mix of “old-school PR and high tech.” The firm builds social profiles (on MySpace or Facebook) for clients and promotes them to blogs; it also drafts news releases and solicits coverage from traditional press outlets. Scrubbers generally work on retainer and charge anywhere from $500 to $10,000 a month.

A handful of scrubbers do try to actually remove negative content, using coercion, compromise, and occasionally cash. A first step is to contact the website and ask that the harmful post be removed. “For us to pay the site for removal is very uncommon, but less than 1 percent of the time, we have to do it,” says ReputationDefender CEO Michael Fertik, whose company charges a monthly fee and $30 for each item they persuade a website to remove. If a site refuses to erase an offending post, the next step is to negotiate a compromise. Ask the site administrator to substitute a screenshot for the actual text of the harmful post (a screenshot is an image, so the words no longer register as text to Google and won’t come up in a search).

When it comes to your online image, these companies argue that no one can afford to shrug off a slight. As Fertik says, “The people who are reading stuff about you on the internet don’t have to believe what they read about you beyond a reasonable doubt.” They just have to believe it enough to not hire you