How to Take Control of Your Online Rep


The Internet is the great equalizer. Everyone has a voice and it's heard equally. But that doesn't mean what everyone has to say is worth hearing, or that you can stop people from listening to those saying bad things about your business. So. What do you do if people are talking smack or badmouthing you online?

Well, I've written before about why you shouldn't ask for people to write reviews for you, but Fast Company has a slick, tight list of five ways you can take back your reputation online.

Here's the short version of it:

  • Don't post stupid stuff (see above about everything living forever on the Internet). That includes embarrassing pictures and caffeine-fueled rants. Also, be careful not to succumb to SIWOTI (Someone Is Wrong On The Internet) syndrome, which will cause you to stay up all night arguing with people and using bad language.
  • If you find negative things written about you/your business, respond to them as professionally as possible.
  • If you find personal information about you posted, request to have it taken down--again, as professionally as possible. Reasonable requests are responded to more than half as frequently as the ones written in ALL CAPS with lots of exclamation points.
  • Don’t make up good stuff to counteract the bad. It will come back to bite you.
  • Do engage in productive activities to raise your profile in a positive way. Use that crazy social media to express (reasonable) opinions, interact with customers and partners, find communities of like-minded people or peers, and present yourself as a self-respecting denizen of the Internet--and the world.

You can, and should, read more over at Fast Company on all this. Otherwise we'll talk smack about you. Not really. 

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a columnist for EGM. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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