There has been much debate in the blogosphere about Seth Godin’s Twitter account. He never registered his name on Twitter and someone took it. This individual used his avatar, information and actually tweeted using this account. Fake Seth now has 4,375 followers and has sent 476 updates. Luckily for Seth, he blogged about this and the person who owns the Twitter account has only syndicated his blog, rather than torture his brand by misrepresentation. I’ve also seen fake Chris Brogan accounts and a few other “internet celebrities” being taken on Facebook. Truth be told, many of these individuals don’t seem to care because they are so high above the status quo that they feel their reputation can’t be burst into oblivion. Some may register their domain names, while others may forget to sign-up for the top social networks. Today’s post will tell you how to protect and secure your name, so you don’t suffer later.
“I have no idea how to kick someone off my name. What if they have the same name? Is this a productive use of my time if all this person is doing is reposting my blog? That’s not dishonest or wrong, it’s sort of a nice service.” – Seth Godin, Best Selling Author and Blogger
Here is what you need to know
#1 – Purchase yourname.com and if you haven’t yet, I posted the procedure.
#2 – Review the social networking checklist to identify which social networks to join and which to stay away from.
#3 – Register your full name on each social network. I recommend Twitter, Facebook, WordPress.com, LinkedIn.com, Technorati, MyBlogLog, and YouTube for starters.
#4 – Start an excel spreadsheet or the Apple equivalent and list the social networks you’re apart of, as well as the login information and time they were last updated. The purpose here is to let each profile grow as you develop, so you aren’t misrepresented and don’t lose opportunities.
#5 – Pay attention to what social networks are gaining traction by subscribing to blogs that showcase new social networks and that keep a tally on what’s hot.
How to recover from a disaster
I would first like to start by mentioning that once someone has your name on a social network, you cannot attain it, unless they give it back to you. This is a huge call to arms for all of you, who think that it may magically return to you. A disaster that is not contained by a company or personal brand can hurt your reputation, especially if you are already a brand name. The more people that know you, the greater the chances are that someone doesn’t like you and wants to bring you under for their own satisfaction.
To recover from this situation, you must protect yourself in the first place, by using the above guidelines. If you can’t reach out to the person who stole your name, then be creative and register your name with your middle initial. I could either do danHschawbel or danielschawbel, if my name was taken. Send a note to your readership that it isn’t the real you like Seth did and if people are confused, try and message the one’s affected to contain the situation.
Reputation management concerns for the future
I have major concerns for the future of our online brand reputations. With messages traveling at the speed of light, through a magnitude of services, all accessible from a single device anywhere in the world, you are on spot 24/7. Any move you make or anyone else makes will happen as fast as lightening and recovery will be nearly impossible. There are thousands of social networks right now. Some will converge in the future, while others will fail miserably.
What if you don’t register yourname.org, yourname.net, yourname.com, yourname.name, yourname.tv, yourname.biz, yourname.mobi, etc? As the amount of domain extensions increase and as the amount of social networking websites increases, it forces us to invest more in our online reputation than ever before.
College students and businesses haven’t caught up, while high school students and people already using these services are in good shape. When everyone catches up, there will be a flood of people registered for all these services and more people equals more messaging. This is a good business case for personal brand monitoring software, but in general, we will never be able to follow that many conversations.
We don’t have a choice whether or not we participate online anymore, but at the same time, we must be careful. I don’t believe there is a clear remedy yet, but would enjoy to hear your opinions on this topic.