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What does the Internet Think of You? 3 Easy Steps to Managing your Online Reputation

Info Addict SeriesEveryone, at some point, wishes they had a magic mirror like the one in Snow White. One place where you could get the scoop on yourself. In one moment, the Evil Queen could find out for certain whether she really was the “fairest one of all.”

And, really, it wasn’t how she looked that she was trying to figure out anyway. Any mirror can tell you that. She wanted to know what people thought of her– beauty being in the eye of the beholder and all.

So what do people think about you? What do they think about your business? Do you know? Do you know how to track it? There’s a few tricks to monitoring these things via the web, and thats what I’d like to show you today…

How Do You Figure Out What The Internet Thinks About You?

We all would like to find out other’s opinions of us- as scary as it might turn out, we like to keep an eye on our public image. And when you take that concept to the internet, it can be a really scary prospect. It’s a huge place- if you’re going to stare into that abyss searching for an answer you better have a plan.

And this brings us to this week’s installment of Info Addict: 3 Easy Steps to Managing Your Online Reputation.

Step 1: Get Access to a Feedreader

If you don’t have a feedreader- online or offline- go get one. You have 2 choices for the bulk of this: (1) spend a half hour every day searching the web for information about yourself or (2) let the web do it for you via a feedreader. If you need any help, visit my last Info Addict post.

Step 2: Try out a few Vanity Searches

What you’re going to do is perform a “Vanity Search,” and then you’re going to subscribe to this search in your feed reader. Vanity searches are just searches for your name or the name of your business. It can be helpful to experiment with alternate spellings, abbreviations and misspellings so that you capture everything being said about your or your brand on the internet.

Step 3: Add feeds of your searches to your feedreader

“What’s that,” you ask, “you can subscribe to more than just blogs and news?” Yes. many sites will allow you to subscribe to RSS feeds of searches, and many search engines are adding this feature as well. Now this step can vary from engine to engine, so I’ll explain how to do it with 2 of my favorite sources, Bloglines and Google.

How to subscribe to a bloglines search:
Once you know have a list of the different variations of your name you want to monitor on the net, you can go to bloglines.com and subscribe to them. Once you hit bloglines, in the top right of the page you’ll see the search feature. There’s lots of options listed but for now ignore them- just do the default search for “posts.” Once you’ve completed the search, you’ll see just below it a couple links to subscribe to the search. Add it to your feedreader and off you go. Rinse and repeat for all your searches.

How to subscribe to a Google search:
The catch with Google is that not every search is available for subscription yet. As of now, it’s available for Blogs and Video- so we’ll highlight the blog search. Just do the same thing- perform a search for each of your variations and you’ll find the option to subscribe on the left hand side, below a few other options.


Bonus Step 4: Do Your Best to Go To Sleep Tonight, Instead of Endlessly Refreshing Your Feedreader

As a company, as well as an individual, it’s more important than ever to monitor your online reputation. There’s so much value there- from learning unexpected lessons about how your customers feel about or use your product, to protecting your brand from slander or misrepresentation.

Now that you’ve mastered the Vanity Search, you’ll probably want to subcribe to a few other searches like the names of your competition, your suppliers, your favorite sports team, your 5th grade crush…

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