How to Create and Maintain an Online Presence

The web isn’t going anywhere, it is here to stay. Social media giants like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter have made it easy for old friends to keep in touch and employers to find out more personal info before hiring.

Have you started monitoring your online presence yet? Online presence is important because of the ease of obtaining information about someone. Just type a name into Google and you are sure to find pages and pages of results. Employers can use this in part of their background check and what they find may or may not get you hired. Sure, you could put your social profiles on private but the web is a tool and it should be used as one. Keeping public profiles gives you just enough room to show your personality and expertise.

The Basics
I have a pseudonym online. You can find me by typing in my pseudonym or my full name which usually brings up a few results. Everyone should have a pseudonym because you will often have to pick a username. Sure, your username could be just your name but where is the fun in that? My online pseudonym is chelseaCraze and my backup, in case that was is taken, is chelseaTKO. I kept my first name in both so people know who I am. I suggest doing the same for yours. Make it easy to remember and catchy. I also suggest registering for a free email using your new pseudonym at either Gmail or Yahoo.

If you haven’t started creating an online presence yet then you should start with the basics: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and a blog directory. These four things will get you started and provide plenty of search engine rankings for your name.

MySpace and Facebook are common and you might already have them. You should keep your profile visible to everyone. On these two social networks you should use your real name as your display name but you can include your new pseudonym somewhere in your profile. Facebook usually displays your first and last name by default while MySpace has a privacy option that allows you to turn it on. Whether or not you display your full name is entirely up to you. If you aren’t comfortable with it then display just your first name.

Twitter is another social network that has really caught on since their launch in 2006. Twitter is considered a micro-blog where people update their ‘status’ in 140 characters or less. Some update about their whereabouts, what they are doing, eating or seeing and others use it strictly to interact with others.

You’ve probably heard the term ‘blog’ being thrown around in conversations like a baseball. They are everywhere. Blogs are giving traditional media a run for the money. Why would you want to blog? Everyone should blog because it provides them an outlet to discuss their thoughts and opinions. They have a place where they can share what they know and how they do it with the world. Also, a blog provides others a glimpse into your life, thoughts and a look at your personality. Where does one get a blog? Well there are plenty of options for that. The first is to use a free blogging service like Blogger or WordPress. The second is to buy your own domain name, hosting and set up a blog. This isn’t necessary unless you are very web savvy and I would suggest using the first option.

After the basics, what’s next? After you have mastered the basics it is important to monitor what exactly your profiles and blog are saying to anyone reading them. If you wouldn’t want your Mom reading it then you shouldn’t have wrote it. You should write a bio or self-summary that is short, relevant and universal. Leave out all of the negative stuff and curse words. You should also check all of you updates on Twitter or your blog that might be negative to someone else. You can check out my article on how to answer the tell me about yourself question for tips on how to write a self-summary.

If you have your pictures visible to the public then you should also check those making sure that you don’t have any risqué or raunchy photographs of yourself. It happens to celebrities all the time so be wary.

Maintaining and Expanding
You should now be well trained in the word of online reputation management. Just make sure you maintain your social networking profiles and your blog. If you want to expand and give yourself even more visibility on the internet then look for other social networks or forums to join. MeetUp is really cool and you can meet others in your area with the same interests. Also try flickr, digg and stickam, each have their own unique services.

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