How to Ruin Your Online Reputation in 7 Easy Steps

If you haven’t been living in cave for the past 10 years, you know that the internet is now the dominant form of communication on the planet, and that the data on the internet is vast and all encompassing. So encompassing, in fact, that if you’ve ever posted an article online, created a social profile or interacted with anyone on the internet while using your own name, it can be found.

If you’re careful with your online reputation, this shouldn’t be a problem. In fact, many people now use the web as a great way to promote themselves, so they have a large online presence and can easily be found when anyone Google’s their name. But what about your online reputation? What happens when you search for your name online? Is it something positive about you, or is it someone else who shares your name dominating the results? Does it show you professional profiles and links to quality content that you have created, or does it bring up pictures of you from a frat party 10 years ago?

But maybe you’re the type who doesn’t want to create a positive online reputation for themselves. Maybe you want people who search for your name online to find those embarrassing pictures of you. If you don’t care about your online reputation, here is a surefire way to ensure that no one will want to hire you, work with you, or be your friend after they search for you online.

1) Don’t Google yourself

If want to ruin your online reputation, never try and find out what it is in the first place. That is, don’t search for yourself online, and certainly don’t use web monitoring tools like Google alerts to find out when someone mentions your name online. Because if you find out that someone has mentioned you online in an unflattering way, you might feel obligated to contact them and try and correct them. And that would be horrible for the bad reputation you are trying to cultivate.

2) Don’t claim your social profiles

Smart web users recognize the value in claiming profiles that correspond to their name on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others. But if you want to ruin your reputation don’t claim any of those. Let other people claim them and then sit back and watch them create embarrassing and unflattering content in your name. Remember, if you don’t control reputation, someone else will. But maybe that’s what you want.

3) Post compromising pictures of yourself on the web

There are losts of great ways to ruin your reputation online, but compromising pictures of yourself is a really great way to prove to everyone what an irresponsible jerk you are. Drunk photos, partially clothed photos, photos of you committing illegal acts—these are all great ways to show potential employers or college admissions boards that you are not the kind of person they want associated with their name.

4) Be extremely opinionated, eschewing any sense of responsibility

The best way to show people that you are shallow and hard to work with is by posting blog rants about all of your biggest pet peeves and dirtiest habits as well as complaining about your co-workers and supervisors. And then don’t offer any solutions, back up your claims, or exude any hint of responsibility or intelligence toward your subject. That is a sure path to online reputation failure.

5) Make a spectacle of yourself

If you really want to make sure your online reputation is completely ruined. Make a spectacle of yourself in public, preferably doing something unsavory, and make sure the police are involved. That’s a great way to get yourself defamed in a news article or have your mug shot posted on the web for anyone to see. Celebrities do it all the time, so it’ll probably work for you too.

6) Attract a lot of attention for your online activities

The best way to make sure your infamous activities and blog posts get the to the top of a Google search—so they can do the maximum amount of damage—is to make sure you garner a lot of attention. The more links and social shares for your online content, the higher your unsavory acts will appear in the search engine results.

7) Don’t hire a reputation management company

If you want to completely ruin your online reputation, this is the absolute worst thing you can do. A reputation management company will only want to clean up your search results, make sure all that “offensive” content is taken down and de-indexed, and prod you to act responsibly online. They’re very good at what they do, and they can be very persuasive. But at all costs resist asking them for help because, in no time, you’ll see your online reputation improve and people will want to hire you and be your friend. And that’s exactly the kind of thing you’re trying to avoid.