Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to appear on the TODAY Show with Kathy Lee and Hoda to discuss protecting your online reputation. Those two women are a riot and I had such a fun time on the show with them. I think this is a really important topic, so I wanted to stress some of the points we covered for those who missed it.



1) Know who your “digital doppelgängers” are and differentiate if necessary with a nickname or middle initial. For example, my colleague Bradley Lautenbach chooses to go by Bradley because there is already a well-known Brad Lautenbach, race car driver, who dominates search results and my colleague wanted to make sure he could stand out. Some expectant parents are even going as far as to choose names for their children based on “Googleability” — the last thing you want is someone with the same name as you running around damaging your reputation without your knowledge!

2) Understand that who your friends are and what they post online is part of your reputation as well! These days, people judge you not only by what you share online, but also by the company you keep. Tell your friends to be mindful of that when posting photos and adjust your privacy settings to let you approve photos before they appear on your profile.

3) Set a Google Alert for yourself. It might seem vain to get an update every time something is published about you online, but you need to know what’s out there. A job interviewer or potential first date is going to do is Google you, so you should be aware of what they will see. While you’re at it, set Google Alerts for some of your less tech-savvy family members too, so you can let them know if you see something pop up that might warrant their attention.

4) If there are damaging pictures or articles about you, there are a few ways to clean up your reputation. If there are a few small things that aren’t career-ending, start blogging and including more links in your Twitter bio. Ask your friends to write nice blog posts about you. Create profiles on social media sites such as LinkedIn and Tumblr. By adding more content that you “control,” you help push bad results further down in Google. If the post or picture truly is career-ending and you have money to throw at the problem, you can turn to a service like to help you out for a hefty, but likely worthwhile, fee.

5) Own up to it. If you make a mistake, admit it. Be proactive when going into interviews or dates. Acknowledge that you made a mistake, then reinvent yourself and move on. Nobody’s perfect and in this social media world, even our future presidents will have unsavory Facebook photos and Tweets they’d like to take back.

6) Keep your privates private.
This is just a general good life lesson, people. It didn’t work for Anthony Weiner and it’s not going to work for you.

Did I miss anything? Share some of your best tips for protecting your online reputation and we’ll post some of the best ones in a follow-up!

Written by Randi Zuckerberg