How Google Authorship Markup can build your Reputation as a Thought Leader

If you want to take your reputation from good to great, becoming known as a thought leader is a powerful way to do it. In addition to championing progress and innovation in their fields, thought leaders constantly create new content, especially online, that not only demonstrates their expertise but also shares valuable cutting-edge insight about their industry.

Google Authorship markup is currently one of the best ways to develop your position as an expert and thought leader. By verifying you as the author of your content and making it easy for your audience to access everything you publish, Authorship markup gives you an instant credibility boost and provides a platform for your thought leadership.

There are 3 ways using Google Authorship markup helps you build your reputation as a thought leader:

  1. Verifies you as the author

  2. Links together all your online content

  3. Improves your visibility online

Verified Author Status

Being recognized as the author of exceptional content is the first step to becoming a thought leader. After all, if no one realizes that amazing guest article on a high-profile site is yours, does it really do you any good?

Authorship markup connects your name and face to your content. It shows Google that you are willing to put your name on the line for what you create, and it shows searchers that you are an authority in your field. It destroys anonymity online so you can claim your opinions, research, and other content, and all the reactions they inspire.

Linked Content

Once your audience starts recognizing your name, they want easy access to everything you publish so they can stay up-to-date on the most current predictions, trends, research, and innovation in your field.

Authorship markup follows you around the web and links all your content together on your Google+ profile. This way, it doesn’t matter where you published your latest article. Your audience can quickly and easily find it right on your profile. All your content in one place builds your reputation as a thought leader by showing how prolific of a writer you are. The more you write, the more of an expert you must be.

Improved Visibility

Closely related to verified author status, improved visibility helps more people recognize your name and makes you more relevant and credible. Authorship markup helps you become more visible by providing a rich snippet search result with your photo, name, and links to your Google+ profile and other content.

These richer listings make you stand out from other search results. The more often your content appears in search, the more your audience will recognize your name, face, and leadership in your field. Richer search results have the added benefit of higher click-through rates, so your content gets more traffic, too.

A verified author profile, linked content, and improved visibility all help you establish your reputation as a thought leader by building trust and conveying authority. Your name, photo, and profile all indicate you are real human being, not some SEO robot, which builds trust. Your follower count and number of +1s on Google+ provide social proof that you are an expert worth following, which builds authority.

And the more exceptional content you publish, the more of a thought leader Authorship helps you become.

5 Steps to Controlling Your Personal Online Reputation

Personal reputation management is a growing trend, and has been for awhile as corporate professionals and business owners continue to realize the power of building their own brand.

Controlling your personal reputation online depends on what you’re trying to achieve and how much time and effort you have to put into it. Get started managing the brand of you with a new vpn to can protect your identity, if you do not have one, visit the best webinar software 2021 to download this service from their website..

1. Register your name across all major social media accounts.

Thanks to the advent of social media, potential employers and anybody who wants to learn more about you can find you pretty easily. Control what appears in search results by owning your name in all the major social platforms, including:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube

If you work in a field with an industry-specific social network, register your name there too.

2. Set up privacy controls.

Most social platforms give you privacy options, so only yourself or connections can see certain information on your profile. Set your privacy setting to the equivalent of “Friends Only” or “Friends of Friends Allowed.”

Additionally, you may be able to adjust the privacy setting of individual updates. But a word of caution: privacy controls don’t stop your friends from sharing your posts, so a photo you thought was between you and the guys could suddenly affect your job search if the guys are sharing it publicly.

The best way to make sure no one sees anything you don’t want them to see is to never let it go online in the first place.

3. Be active enough.

If you’re not active on your social accounts, they won’t show up in search results, leaving lots of room on the first page of Google for other things to appear. Sharing, commenting, or posting something new at least once a week on the major social platforms should be good enough for basic personal reputation management.

If you are an executive in your company or trying to build thought leadership, you need to be a lot more active–at least one post on each network and plenty of shares and comments daily.

4. Own your branded domain name.

In addition to social media accounts, exact and partial match domains tend to show up well in search results. So when people search for “John Smith” they are likely to see results like JohnSmith.com, JohnSmith.net, and JohnSmith.wordpress.com as well as John Smith’s social media accounts.

If you’re just trying to control how you appear online, you don’t necessarily need to add any content to the website. You want to own your own domain name so no one else can use it. But if you have the time, it doesn’t hurt to create a blog or portfolio on your site to show off your skills and build your brand.

5. Use personal homepage sites to pull everything together.

Buying domain names, getting hosting, and setting up a website costs money. If you don’t want to spend much to manage your personal online reputation (or if you’re a college student and don’t have much to spend), you can use personal homepage sites like About.me or Flavors.me to create a hub for all your content online.

These free pages tend to rank very well and include a short bio, a photo, and links to your social accounts. You can even attach your branded domain name to the personal homepage to give it more weight in search engine results.

And here’s a new video I did with Online Reputation Management Tips:

Celebrity Reputation Management: Tips on Maintaining a Positive Personal Brand

For celebrities more than most other people, your name is your brand. It takes a lot of good work to build up a positive brand, but only hours to destroy one, thanks to the far-reaching possibilities of the internet. That’s why online reputation management for celebrities is so critical.

Once you’ve got a solid brand image associated with your name, follow these tips to keep it positive.

Monitor what others are saying about you.

You can’t respond to a brand crisis or negative press if you don’t know what people are saying about you. If you monitor regularly and respond appropriately, you can often take care of a problem before it snowballs into something much bigger and much worse.

The most basic online monitoring tool is Google Alerts. Set up an alert for your name and other terms relevant to your career or fame, and decide how often to receive the emailed alert.

Other good monitoring tools include Monitter.com and SocialMention.com. Both of these specifically look for mentions of your name and keywords on Twitter and other social media.

Get good press.

One of the best ways to maintain a positive brand image is to keep doing the things that helped you build it in the first place. This could include but is not limited to:

  • charity
  • volunteer work
  • avoiding compromising situations
  • excelling at what you do
  • winning awards or competitions

Own your name online.

Celebrity online reputation management is much easier when you own your domain name (i.e. celebrityname.com). When someone searches your name online, your domain name is very likely to show up on the first page of results, pushing any negative results down and offering the best information to searchers.

Think of your website as the online hub of information about you. Regularly publishing up-to-date and relevant announcements, photos, news and updates will make your site more likely to show up on the first page of search results and will help searchers find what they’re looking for.

You can use this same strategy with related domains, such as celebritynameblog.com or celebritynamestore.com (if you sell a branded product line).

Other places you can own your name online include the major social networks, appropriate directories (such as IMDB), and possibly a Wikipedia page.

Create online “business cards.”

In addition to owning your domain name and creating an online hub about yourself, you can own your name on single pages of personal portal sites that act like business cards online.

The biggest personal portals are About.me and Flavors.me. They generally include a photo or two of yourself, as much pertinent information as you want to include, and links to more information about you, such as your website and social profiles.

Control photos of yourself online.

Depending on the source of your fame, this may be easier said than done. But being the biggest publisher of photos of yourself can be a powerful, if somewhat counter-intuitive, celebrity online reputation management tactic.

Why? Because if you do it right, most photos will take searchers back to your website and social profiles, which you also control.

Start by including your name in the name of each photo, such as name-ABC-awards.jpg. Then publish them on your website or blog and share them on your social profiles. Just make sure to use appropriate photos, like you doing volunteer work, speaking at a conference, or accepting awards.

Always be professional.

The most important thing you can do to maintain a positive celebrity brand image is always be professional–in the way you work, respond to negative statements about you, and treat others.

Importance of Reputation Management for Executives

You’re at the top of your field. You either run your own company or are at the upper echelons of a large company and you make very important decision that affect a large number of people everyday. 20 years ago, the only thing you really had to worry about at this point was a heart attack from all the stress. But today the business and social landscape are very different and your stature in the business community can be threatened not only by younger executives vying for your position, but the online community that could set its targets on you at any moment.

At this point in your career, you need to think about not just your reputation within the business community, but your online reputation as well. A modicum of misleading information about you on the internet could result in both your position and your future being threatened. And because of the ease and abundance of easy online publishing tools, like blogs and social media, the chances that a disgruntled employee, competitor, or an anonymous detractor will publish misleading and damaging information about you online is extremely high. You need to implement a reputation management strategy now to prevent future attacks from doing any harm.

The More Important You Are, The Bigger the Target on Your Back

The fact of the matter is that the more important you are in your company or in the business world, the more people will have it out for you. It doesn’t matter that you have a clean personal life and can be found faultless of any conceivable wrongdoing. Simply because of the virtue of your position, others will try and tear you down. They may do it because they perceive they’ve been wronged by you in some obscure way or maybe a competitor wants to ruin your reputation for their own purposes.

What matters is not that they want to tarnish your reputation, but that you are ready for it when the attack comes. You can be ready by implementing strong reputation management strategies now—before a crisis happens. Clean your SERPs, get active on social media and blogs, and make sure that when people search your name online, they only see positive information—not the information that others want to use to tear you down.

Your Online Reputation is a Resume

Just as important to your continued success as your resume, is your online reputation. Gone are the days when a gentlemen’s agreement was enough to secure trust in your talents and abilities to do your job. Today, you’re not only judged on the experience you have, but on the reputation you leave behind. Prospective employers are evaluating you online before offering you better positions and more prestige. So, if your online reputation is not as clean as the resume you hand over to them, more than likely they’ll pass you over in favor of someone who’s SERPs are positive.

Online reputation management isn’t just about keeping bad information out of the SERPs for your name, it’s also about building an image that you can be proud of—an image that will attract more partners and more opportunities.

Don’t Forget Your Personal Brand While You Are Managing Someone Else’s

All-in-all, it can be tempting to get lost in your current position doing what you do best. But keep in mind that you are not only running a company, you should be building your personal brand at the same time. And the better you can build that brand, the more opportunities will come your way in the future because of the positive online reputation you’ve built.

 

Using Author Rank for Better Reputation Management

Google has stayed at the top of the search engine game for so long because it continues to innovate, introduce new products, and continually improve its search algorithms to reflect changes in the real and online world. Overall, their goal is to make their search results the most useful on the web.

However, if you’re dealing with an online reputation management problem, sometimes it can feel like Google’s practices are unfair. If someone with high authority has written nasty things about you online, Google shoots it to the top of the results for your name—damaging your reputation and good image. But now Google has started to roll out a feature that can help you build some authority for you name on the web. It’s called “author rank,” and by implementing a few simple practices into the way you create and distribute content on the web, you can gain some great screen real estate in the SERPs.

What is Author Rank?

Google has now devised a way that you can link published content on the web to your personal profile. This creates two results. First, it means that your image will appear in the search results when someone searches for an article or other piece of content you’ve written on the web. Second, Google will be able to link ALL the content you create back to you, so you can start to build a solid reputation and some authority on the web. In fact, Google has said that when author rank signals are incorporated into your content, the amount and quality of that content will be used as a ranking factor for yourself and the websites that you spread content to.

In other words, the better online reputation you can build with author rank signals, the better your content will rank on the web. Then you can use your author authority to influence the rank of content around the web, bringing more positive results to the SERPs for your name and anyone associated with you.

How Do You Do it?

To start using author rank signals as part of your reputation management strategy, you need to implement a few pieces of code on your website and within the content you produce around the web

1) Get on Google+

If you’re web savvy and concerned about your online reputation you probably already have a profile, but, if not, create one now. Google can only track your authorship if they know where to find you on the web, and they’ve determined that Google+ will be where they can find you. Is it monopolistic? Sure. But that’s Google.

2) Create an author page

On your personal or company website, create an author page with a small blurb about yourself and a link back to your Google+ profile using rel=”me” or rel=”author” tags in the link. For example:

<a rel=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/109637006071618937451/posts”>Your Name</a>

3) Link Your Posts to Your Author Page

If your blogging platform has an automatic author bio section added to your posts, make sure it links back to your profile page. Alternatively, you can manually link to your author page in every post. Also, when you author content for other sites, make sure you link back to your main author page, so that Google will recognize that the credit for the content goes to you.

Alternatively, on 3rd party sites, you can use the rel=”author” tag with a direct link to your Google+ profile. But if Google is going to encourage you to link back to an author profile on your site, why not benefit from the link juice that those 3rd party sites will create when you link back to your own site?

Improved Reputation Management

When you can successfully use the rel=”author” tags and show Google where you are publishing content on the web, you’ll benefit from increased rankings and an improved SERP—creating a better online reputation.

 

Reputation Management Through Guest Blogging

One of the best ways to build a great reputation around the web is to give stuff away. Everyone loves free stuff and webmasters are no different. And the currency that webmasters trade in is content. They’re always looking for new, unique, and valuable content they can put on their site with a minimum of hassle and effort. This is one of the reasons good infographics get passed around the web—everyone is looking for a great piece of content to put on their site.

And it’s one of the reasons guest blogging can be used as an effective reputation management strategy. With guest blogging—blogging for others and hosting guest bloggers on your site—you get a chance to build links to your site and make friends around the web, boosting your profile and name, which will result in cleaner SERPs for you or the company you work for.

Blogging for Others

There are so many blogs out there looking for content, you won’t be able to count them. There is a huge demand for great content right now, and there are a large number of webmasters who are asking for great content. Most won’t pay, but that’s okay. You can ask for a link instead—which is better if your goal is to build a better online reputation.

Part of a good reputation management strategy is to get as many mentions of your name as possible on the web (preferably with links back to your core site or blog). When you guest blog, include a short bio at the end of your article with a link to whatever web property you are trying to send link juice to, like social profiles, your blogs, or online news article that mention your name/brand. The link juice will flow to those properties and help them rank better for your name. If you looking for btc news then click here.

Also, guest blogging allows you to use Google’s new rel=”author” tag and point it at your Google+ profile. Boosting the prominence of that particular social profile in the SERPs.

Others Blogging for You

Many webmasters are afraid of giving away links from their site. But this isn’t the old days of SEO; Google has evolved. In fact, a site that has a minimal number of links pointing out is suspicious to Google and might not rank as well as a site that freely links to other great resources and websites.

You can use resources like MyBlogGuest.com to find people who want to give you guest posts in exchange for a link. But don’t open the floodgates. Be particular about he kinds of posts you’ll accept, the quality of those posts, and the websites that they will link to.

When you publish a guest post on your blog, the author will either share the post through social networks or put a link to you on their site as well (or maybe both).  All around, those are great ways to build ranking signals to your site.

And with a number of guest posts, you will show Google that your site is active and regularly publishing fresh content.

Reputation Management

Of course, keep in mind your goal—a better online reputation. To that end, make sure you have an author bio on your page that points to your social profiles, so that the juice your are building goes exactly where it is supposed to go. It’s great if you start ranking for other terms as well, but remember to always stay focused on the SERP that you are trying to clean up or trying to shore up against future reputation attacks.

In the end, guest blogging (both inbound and outbound) is a great way to get more mentions of your name on the web and a fairly easy way to build links to your site in order to boost its rank in the SERPs and create a better reputation management strategy.

4 Reputation Management Tips for Millennials

The US population ebbs and flows just like the ocean. After WWII there was the baby boom, when the US saw the highest birth rate it had seen since it’s founding. Since then we’ve seen Generation X and the Millenials (Generation Y). The Baby Boomers are getting older now, and they are settling down, retiring, and becoming empty nesters. The Gen Xers are in their mid 30s to late 40s—in the middle of their careers—but the Millenials are just getting started. And growing up in the internet age, surrounded by technology and endless accessibility to data, has given them a different perspective on information sharing and personal reputation not shared by older generations.

Boomers aren’t interested in learning new technologies unless it helps them talk to their children and grand children. And Gen Xers are pretty tech savvy, but they understand that technology is simply a tool and a proxy for interpersonal relationships. Millennials, on the other hand, have grown up sharing all types of personal information online through social networks, blogs, and more.

Where Boomers aren’t concerned about online reputation, and Gen Xers are aware of how damaging it can be. Most Millennials have yet to face the consequences of bad reputation management. And for a generation that has shared so much online, that’s a problem.

However as they leave college and enter the workforce, the problems of sharing anything and everything online will start to become apparent. Not only are prospective employers cruising social networks to check out job applicants but being easily found online is quickly becoming a mark of prestige. As a result, negative and embarrassing online content is a bigger liability now than it has ever been in the history of our culture, and a lack of being easily found can be a sign of lack of experience and engagement.

So it is now the tricky job of Millennials to walk a fine line between sharing too much information and sharing just enough content online to build a positive reputation. Millennials have to be vigilant reputation managers of their identity like no other generation has been. But they can get things straight and cultivate a positive online reputation if they start early and follow a few basic principles.

1) Be mindful

First and foremost, Millennials need to be aware that what they do and say online matters. In high school it’s easy to think, “I can do and say what I want, no one cares.” But you have to keep in mind that the thing you didn’t think was important four years ago is still there, and people you want to impress can find it easier than you think. So the first step in cultivating a positive personal reputation management strategy is to only post positive content to social networks and blogs. Don’t post embarrassing information or (heaven forbid) brag about doing something illegal or unethical.

2) Get a head start

Because most Millennials are not concerned about these things, those that recognize the importance of reputation management have a fantastic opportunity in front of them. Grab up as many personalized online properties as you can while you’re young. And hang onto them. For example, personalized social profiles, name specific domains, and more. You may not need to use them now, but one day they will come in handy. And you want to grab them before someone else does.

3) Create

One of the best things you can do to cultivate a positive online reputation is to create content. That is, start a blog, curate content through your social networks, and become an influencer online. Even though you may still be young, start building a professional profile now. Colleges and future employers will be impressed with the work you’ve done so early in life, and you’ll be a shoo-in compared with applicants who aren’t aware of their online reputation at all.

4) Take care

As you look toward the future, think about reputation management as you go about your digital life. Look toward the future with a goal of being easily found online (for positive reasons) and work toward it. If you don’t take control of your online reputation, then your carelessness will. Stay on top of new technology and new platforms as they arise so you can always be ahead of the reputation management game.

6 Reputation Management Tips for Independent Marketers

Independent marketing is tough, but it can be extremely rewarding for people with the right skills and personality. Although a lot of people look at multi-level marketing as a hard way to make money, taken with the right attitude, independent marketing can be an exciting challenge with huge payoffs.

One of the most challenging aspects of independent marketing is getting your name out there for people to see and making sure that, when people search for your name online, they see something positive about what you are doing and how you can help them, sometimes in order to achieve this, you need to get assistance from a franchise seo program.

And that’s where reputation management comes in. Not only is reputation management important for people who may be associated with negative information online, it’s also a way to create an online presence that will help you gain a better reputation in the world, allowing you to make more connections and grow your income. Let’s take a look at a few ways online reputation management can help you as an independent marketer.

Your email marketing strategy will vary a lot based on the essence of your small business. Needless to say, there are a number of different reasons your data-driven advertising and marketing strategy could fail in addition to a deficiency of comprehensive tools. It’s simple to separate your digital advertising strategy into various channels like pay per click ads, social networking, search engine optimisation and so forth. A digital marketing and advertising strategy does not necessary demand a detailed analysis, it merely takes a set of objectives and goals which you are seeking to realize. You should develop a content marketing strategy based not just on the info you need to give your clients, but also based on your understanding of what information people are trying to find. You can use BlazingBronco to improve your organic search optimization in Michigan.

1) Go to conferences

Not only are conferences great for meeting people, making connections, and learning about how to better market your product independently, they’re also a way for you to get your name on the internet. These conferences will often publish attendee lists online, as well as award recipients, speakers, and workshop moderators. When people search for you online, they’ll see that you were part of a conference, and that will increase your credibility and reputation.

2) Take part in charities

Although a large donation might get you listed on a charity website, you probably don’t have large cash reserves to throw at these organizations (yet). Better yet, do some volunteer work and get yourself listed on the website as a volunteer and an important part of the organization. Charity work is never a bad reputation booster.

3) Become a sales resource

First, you can get yourself listed in any number of sales and marketing resources, for example you can really improve your sales and customers rate with some digital marketing by https://webceed.co.uk/ .And these listings will show up in search results. Second, become a resource. Create a website with a blog where you can talk about your experience, give advice, and point others toward helpful resources. If you act like a professional online, people will treat you like one in real life.

4) Make a video

Videos tend to rank very well on Google and other search engines. The video doesn’t have to be long or have a $15 million budget. It just has to look professional and give great information about who you are and what you do. If you do it well, and add your name to the video title, there is a good chance it will do well in the SERPs, and you will get some great reputation benefit from it.

5) Grab personal domains

Before you get too far into your independent marketing career, make sure you snag a domain name that reflects your name. It’s best if you can buy a domain that is an exact match for your name, like JoanSmith.com. But you can also try looking for alternative domain extensions, like JoanSmith.net, JoanSmith.org, or JoanSmith.me. Alternatively, try other variations of your name, like Joan-Smith.com, JSmith.com, JASmith.com (“A” standing for your middle name), JoanSmithSales.com, JoanSmithBrand.com, and others. Buying a domain like this and creating a site around it will make you easily and readily recognizable online.

6) Be Social

If you haven’t already registered social profiles to use professionally as an independent marketer, do it right now. Sites like KnowEm can be a great help to automatically register your name on many social sites. You would probably need a calendar for social media to manage your numerous accounts. These profiles tend to rank very well in the SERPs, and they allow you another channel to build a client base and communicate with them regularly.

Own Your Name: A Key Tactic for Reputation Management

Just about everyone carries identification. We usually carry a driver’s license, a credit or debit card, maybe a library card, or any other number of cards that display our name and possibly our image. Personal identification became a necessity when people started to travel more easily at the beginning of the 20th century.

Before widespread travel, everyone in the town or area you lived knew who you were. So there was no need for you to prove who you were. But as people started to travel more and intermingle with strangers, it became too easy for someone to give a false name, pretend they were someone else, or generally lie about their real identity. And because identity was so easy falsified, it became necessary for people to use identification so they could prove they were who they said they were.

The internet is now at a similar point. It’s so easy for anyone to hide their identity online, or assume the identity of someone else, that it is imperative for your company to claim its name online in as many forms as possible, in order to prevent fraudulent use of your name. Or, from a more pragmatic approach, to prevent a rival from claiming your domains and profiles first

Here are 5 tips for claiming your name in order to protect your online reputation.

1. Claim personalized domains

If you are doing reputation management for a company, you’ve probably already purchased these. Not only do you need to own yourcomapny.com, but also other domain extensions, like yourcompany.net, .org, .tv, and more. Owning these various domains will keep others from buying them up and pretending to be you. But it will also have the benefit of allowing you to create microsites or informational sites about your company that can appear in the SERPs and push down more negative links.

If you are an individual, make sure your snatch up your firstnamelastname.com domain—if it isn’t already taken—and then consider buying other extensions as well. You can use these domains as blogs or as hubs for your identity online.

2. Register branded social profiles

Social profiles tend to do very well for both company and individual name searches and can bump negative content out of the search results. But more importantly, you want to protect your online reputation by making sure someone else doesn’t claim these profiles and use them for their own purposes. A great place to find the majority of the social media sites is KnowEm.

In fact, just last year, a prankster registered the profile @MayorEmanuel on Twitter and commenced to tweet as if from behind the scenes of Chicago Mayor Rham Emanuel’s election campaign. The profile gained a number of followers who thought they were following the real Rham Emanuel, only to find out it was a hoax.

Claim all your branded social media profiles immediately, so something similar doesn’t happen to you or your company.

3. Monitor your Wikipedia page

Although Wikipedia has in some instances been proven more accurate than the Encyclopedia Britannica, it’s still a playground rife with fraud and misinformation. If you don’t have a Wikipedia page for your company (or if you are famous enough to warrant a personal Wikipedia entry) go ahead and create one before anyone else has the chance to do it for you.

However, keep an eye on it. Because Wikipedia is an open community, any editor can change the information on your profile. If this happens, make sure you correct the information quickly and alert the Wikipedia editorial board if malicious acts are being perpetrated against your page by other users.

4. Grab business listings

Another great place to claim your name is on business listing websites. Search local and niche directories for instances of your business or personal name and create listings that reflect your actual information. These can also be great places to link to your main website, blog, or other web properties and help them rank better in the SERPs.

5. Don’t forget variations

Lastly, don’t forget about variations of your business or personal name. For example, if you are a car blogger, purchase domains like yournamecars.com or yournameautoparts.com. For social profiles, think about various ways you could be represented online, like “@MayorEmanuel,” so that you can avoid unnecessary confusion over fake profiles. It’s also a good idea to hold on to common misspellings of your personal or company name to avoid potential problems as well. You can even use those misspelled domains as redirects to your main site, so you can capture anyone who is looking for you online.

Although there are many aspects to reputation management that will keep your SERPs looking good, you can avoid potential disasters by claiming any and all instances of your company or personal name online before anyone else does.

A Quick Guide to Online Reputation for Parents

Although we were all kids once, today’s parents may have an even harder time understanding their children than nearly any generation in the history of the world. Never before has technology moved so fast, and never before has the world changed so much in the span of only a couple decades. It’s a fact that kids today are growing up in a world that is extremely different than the world their parents grew up in. In fact, if you are the parent of a teenager today, chances are you didn’t even know what the internet was until you were well out of high school.

This is part of the reason teenagers get into so much trouble online—their parents never had to deal with this technology and many of them still don’t know how to use it as well as their kids. Besides the obvious dangers of strangers, piracy, and pornography online, teenagers today also have an increased chance of ruining their future online reputation due to things they post online today.

It’s not something we talk about very often, but parents need to help guide their children toward safe and positive online interactions now, so that their online behavior won’t come back to haunt them in the future. Primarily parents need to work with their kids to learn, monitor, and teach.

Learn

Because most parents of teenagers today didn’t have widespread access to the internet when they were young, it can sometimes be hard to identify with the tech-savvy youth of today. But just because you’re not a digital native doesn’t mean you can’t learn to communicate like one

Primarily, parents need to be aware of the technology that exists, what it is capable of, and how to use it. If you are not already on Facebook—join. And join other sites that your kids are using as well. The best way to learn about these technologies is to use them yourself. As well, stay abreast of the latest trends in online web culture. When you hear about a popular new site, check it out for yourself. It’ll make it easier to talk to your kids about it and help them understand how to use it responsibly.

Monitor

Knowing about these sites and using them isn’t of much use unless you know what your kids are doing on them. It’s a good idea to follow your kids online, and make it a requirement that they let you follow them as a condition of joining. You don’t have to monitor every conversation they have or every link they post, but you need to be able to check in every once in a while to make sure they’re not posting inappropriate photos or posting comments that could be harmful to them down the road.

A growing number of employers check out potential employees on social networks before they hire them and many college admission officers are beginning to do the same. Already at this young age, teens need to be aware of their online reputation and the real-world impact it can have on them. And you can help them develop an awareness of their online reputation while they are young, so they will develop positive habits they can carry into adulthood.

Teach

Once you know how to use social networks and follow your kids’ online activities, you need to help guide them to make good decisions. Although the internet appears to be a vast playground where you can do anything you want without consequence, that is hardly the case. Teach your kids to be mindful of their online reputation today, and they won’t run into problems later. For example, teach them:

  • Not to post inappropriate photos of themselves online—photos where they appear partially clothed or participating in dangerous or illegal behavior.
  • To treat others with respect online.
  • To keep their blog posts clean and professional.

Learn Together

Teaching your kids about online reputation hazards early is about opening a dialogue and having an open and frank discussion about what is and is not appropriate online etiquette. When the two of you can sit down and understand the pitfalls of irresponsible online behavior, you’ll be helping your teens shore themselves against future embarrassment and negative consequences.

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