HIGH

VISIBILITY

In The Public Eye

How to Protect Your Online Image and Your Online Reputation 

If you are a lawyer or a serve our government you already understand the importance of having a pristine public image and a rock-solid reputation. Your face is probably on a bus or a billboard, your profile, your personal and professional life are open to the public. Public discipline documents are posted by the State Bar Courts online, a practice that began in 2005.  In addition, there will be TV appearances, interviews, and high pressure/ high visibility cases. These factors increase the vulnerability and the accountability imposed on an individual performing in the public eye to keep their online reputation in high regard.

It is enough to turn on your TV to understand the high priority you should assign to your image and reputation. Also, visit this link to learn about the impact of online presence the consumer behavior. Because of the high visibility of your profession, you are subject to contemporary public scrutiny, no matter if you are still in law school or hold a seat at the Supreme Court if you run for office or you are already in the seat.

Considering the implications a bad reputation can have on your career, it is imminent that you protect and maintain your public image in good standing.

Where should you start?

SOCIAL MEDIA

​Start with your actions.

Nothing posted online is out of reach or out of the question.

  • Choose one social media platform and go back to the day you signed for membership if they offer such an option. If not, contact customer service and find out how can you access older posts or what could be done to remove them. Some online platforms hide your posts but do not delete them or offer a conditional deactivation of the account with the option to reactivate at will. You will have to decide on further action but make sure you revisit the website and that what was promised has been delivered.

  • Read the User Agreement and Company Policies carefully and pay attention to third-party sharing practices policies.  You should be (partially) protected under the PII- Personal Identifiable Information Protection Act or the GDPR- General Data Protection Regulations In the USA but that is not a guarantee that companies will obey the regulations, and thus they do not provide security. Data bridges happen all the time.

  • Remove all images that tell more than you want people to know about you.

  • Remove old relationships pictures, unless you are still with the same partner. You are protecting yourself and that individual's reputation from the public exploit.

  • Look at your clothing- are you decent through and through?

  • Next is hair and makeup, and grooming for men. Your upkeep, fashion choices and experiments say a lot about you. A picture is worth a thousand words, indeed. If you have any doubts about if a specific image is admissible or not, contact us, and we will help you decide if it should stay or should it go.

  • Look beyond yourself. Where are you? Are you portrayed in the right environment?

  • Look around you. What does your environment say about you and your habits?

  • Other people in the picture. What is your association with them?

  • Body language. What does it say about your character and behavior? Can it be misinterpreted? 

  • Facial expressions - This factor is a bit more complicated and you will need help with that. Contact us.

  • Do this for all social media channels you participate at present.

  • Now visit other (old) platforms you no longer use but you might still keep an account, or you had an account in the past, and repeat.​

  • Do a Google search and go back as far as ten pages and in your case, that is not far enough, just a beginner level. Use long key search phrases and hashtags to see if something will pop up, for example, " you-name-party- girl." Do you have a nickname?  Search that as well and continue cleaning the content in the same manner.​

  • It is possible that a friend or acquaintance posted a picture of you, that is less than flattering? Kindly ask them to remove the image and hopefully they will. If not, contact us for solutions. 

Once you are done with images, visual and video is time to curate your written content.

WRITTEN CONTENT

Written content refers to everything else that is not a picture or a visual. Your emojis are a testimony or how you feel about something, what you support, what you like, dislike and what you value. In that construct we consider them to be a "written" content signed (posted) by you.

  • Check your language.

  • Check your tone of voice.

  •  Check for the use of exclamation marks. What was your emotional state when you wrote that comment? What does it say about you?

  • Check for over or temperamental statements or ignorant, dispassionate comments on sensitive issues that affect the majority.

  • Do your comments reflect who you are now?

  • Have you engaged in an online dispute with anyone? Are you proud of how you handled that?

  • Check your comments or remarks on other people's feeds. Emojis are comments too.

  • Watch for oversharing of personal information.

  • Watch for oversharing of family information.

  • Your political views must remain private. You serve the law; justice must be blind; therefore it is apolitical.

  • If you are politics, stay true to your beliefs but they should not precede the interest and the well-being of the community you have been elected to represent.

  • Your religious views, practice, and beliefs should remain private as well for the same reason. Your personal preferences and proclivities pertain to your personality and there are strictly individual. They should not factor in, color or influence your professional practice. 

  • Have you made statements that you have not acted upon? Remove them or own them.

  • Have you made comments about products, endorsing or disapproving of them? There are too many sides to be considered when it comes to personal, public and product endorsements, so unless you are fully aware of the implications, remove them or contact us and we will help you figure out what is your best action in that predicament.

  • Grammar and syntax. It shows you pay attention to details.

  • Clarity of thought and sentence structure of your writing. Is it concise, to the point and supported by facts?

  • Stay above the fray!

GOOGLE PAGE ONE

​Next, review the comments made about you by others. Click on the picture above and do this in all search engines.

See how you can go about removing overshared information by friends, family, etc., about you. People sometimes post things without the forethought of how it might affect others unintentionally.

Your reputation on search engines is either build or compromised by factors and people outside of you. If you are involved in any high publicity case, your name gets thrown in the hat regardless. Media attention always creates a dialogue and is open to interpretation. Often open-end questions, fallacious suggestions and tangent lines of a narrative are implied in context with the ulterior motive to create sensationalism and increase media rankings without any regard to the magnitude of damage that may cause to an individual.

 

Follow these steps.

  • Start by searching for yourself online.

  • Save all the links you find.

  • Set up a Google alert for your name, cases you are involved in,  your associates and affiliates you work within close proximity.

  • Always attempt to dissolve a dispute in good faith first and offline and try to arrive in a mutually beneficial solution for all parties involved.

  • If you get caught in a media dispute, you will need a carefully considered strategy before you take any action. Do not act impulsively. Contact us. 

  •  Remain kind, courteous and employ restraint in all communication.

  • Visit the links you saved and see if your resolution produced results.

  • Brush on privacy policies and frequently check the ever-changing laws and regulations about anything exchanged and published online

  • Invest in your brand. You could start a blog or publish general advice or useful information for your clients or constituents. Create a news stream with positive media publications about yourself and your public activities and always include the source where such a report was first posted for credibility.

  • If you produce any content- video, audio, interview, court cases- make sure all participants, a.k.a everybody that appears in the video, including people in the background sign an " Agreement for Release" or "Consent to Use Agreement." Be very specific about how do you intend to use the material and do not stray from what is disclosed in the document.

  • Every person you interact with, in person or online can post something about you at some point in time. How your interface with people every day, everywhere is crucial for your profession.

  • Commit a day and time to do an online sweep every week or delegate it to a professional reputation management company of your choice.

  • Remember what Warren Buffet said, " It takes twenty years to build  a reputation and five minutes to ruin it."

Reputation is a living entity. We like to think of is as a teenager. It has a great future but it needs to be supervised constantly.

We know that choosing to uphold the Law or career in politics requires personal sacrifice and that you will be held accountable to higher expectations imposed on individuals like you, willing to serve as masters of social and cultural patronage. We salute you for your choice and we understand the burden that comes with it.

Don’t let your all these years and sleepless nights during law school and in the courtroom go to waste. Protect your online reputation and keep your name and your practice is good standing.

        Copyright Status Seal Elite Club/ 2018 - All Rights Reserved.