Me on the Web: helpful but not a fool-proof ORM remedyPosted 30 June 2011 by Sandy Cosser
Me on the Web: it’s about as self-explanatory as it comes, really. It’s Google’s (relatively) new tool to help you monitor and control your online reputation. Online reputation management (ORM) is becoming increasingly important in an increasingly digital world. What you do online has knock-on effects in your offline world – think employment prospects, credit checks and even dating.
To complicate matters, not only do you have to worry about what you say online, but you also have to worry about what other people say about you.
You could be doing a sterling job keeping your digital nose clean. You’ve never uploaded drunken photos to Flickr, you’ve never slated your company on Twitter and you’ve never liked a porn site on Facebook. You have a respectable blog about your interest in film noir and you’re vigilant about all of your privacy settings.
You think you’re doing well.
Then some tosspot with a grudge held over from some perceived slight in high school discovers that you’re online. He (or she, because women are also capable of being tosspots) decides that the world ought to know that you didn’t pick him for your team during PE. You didn’t do it once, you did it consistently. Only he couches it in far more virulent terms.
Suddenly you’re a neo-Nazi with a mean homophobic streak and a predilection for kiddie porn.
Since high school he’s managed to build a considerable base of acquaintances. He’s got hordes of friends and followers. Some of whom like and retweet his statements and/or blogs.
Or are you?
Me on the Web gives you the chance to do something about the libellous content.
You start off by going to your Dashboard section in your Google Account. Obviously this means you need a Google account for it to work. In the Me on the Web section you can set up alerts for your name, your email address, your various user names, your blog name, your company name, etc.
You can view results immediately or you can set alerts for once a day, once a week or as mentions occur.
I did a quick check on my name and all I found were my various account profiles, some bios and a couple of articles and blogs. Nothing hinky, thank goodness.
Should you find something untoward, however, you can ask Google to remove the content and any results associated with it. This is where the control part comes in.
The system isn’t perfect and perhaps the feeling of control is only an illusion, after all, who knows what Google will really do? But it always helps to know what people are saying about you. Only then can you respond appropriately.