Monday, August 12, 2013

How To Protect Your Shadow Footprint - Part 2

We learned last week our Shadow Footprint is content someone else publishes about us online, on websites and social networking sites in the form of text, video, audio and pictures. We also learned our Digital Footprint is content we publish online about ourselves.

We have complete control over our Digital Footprint, as we are in control of our own actions and behaviors. We can choose to be Digital Leaders and good Cybercitizens. 

However, when it comes to our Shadow Footprint, we have no control over the actions and behaviors of others and what they post about us online.

With our Social Web, we need to be concerned about protecting our online image and reputation as it has become more important than any hard-copy document we publish about ourselves or our business. The power of Social Sharing on the Internet means hundreds, thousands, literally millions of people can be reached in a very short period of time.

Further, Social Creeping has become significant! Many businesses, organizations and institutions will socially creep you before interviewing you for a job, accepting your entrance in to post-secondary education, partnering with you on a project, accepting you as a client, placing their business with your company, confirming your position on an elite sports team or allowing you to join their professional organization.

People will creep your profiles to get a sense of your attitude, behaviors and personality which they determine by your online activity which includes your online posts, conversations and interactions with others, Facebook likes, Tweets and re-tweets, YouTube channel subscriptions, blog posts, news articles you are mentioned in, etc. They will also creep and search for content that others post about you.

I have many colleagues that work with Human Resource Departments and Recruiting & Admission Departments on How to use the Internet to Socially Creep and Recruit Top Talent and discern against potentially toxic individuals that can harm Effective Team Management and Corporate Culture.

Needless to say, we are living in the Digital Age and it is crucial for us to protect our Digital and Shadow Footprints ... but how do we do this?

Protecting our Digital Footprint is easy as it's within our control to manage. All we need to do is become a Digital Leader.  We need to learn about Internet & Social Media Etiquette, we need to learn about what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior and content, we need to learn what content positively and negatively impacts our online image and reputation.  We need to understand what content positively influences employers and recruiters, and what content turns them off. We need to understand the laws around Internet Defamation and publishing a Libel. I will share more on this very topic in a future blog post, in the meantime, you may be interested in reading:  Complain About Others Online Much?

OK, so we now know what we need to do to protect our Digital Footprint, but what of our Shadow Footprint … how do we protect it?

The very first thing you need to do is create an Online Listening Station so you can monitor name mentions of yourself, your brand, your company, your innovations, your product and services. Your Online Listening Station is like setting up a powerful set of digital ears to monitor the different conversations that may be taking place about you or your organization across the social web.

By setting up filtering, aggregating and alert technology services you can gain access to real-time conversations about:

  • What people think about you, your business, your products & services
  • Complaints against your company and your brand
  • Negative comments made by competition and customers
  • Posts made by strategic partners, employees, suppliers
  • Inaccurate information about you and your organization
  • False information and statements that are meant to harm your image and reputation
  • Positive posts, compliments and flattery towards you and your business
The goal is to stay tuned-in to what is being said about you and your business across the social web so you monitor your Shadow Footprint, allowing you to be in a position to properly deal with both positive and negative information that is out their on the web for everyone to see.

Your goal is to create a Dashboard where you can manage the different conversations in pretty much the same place, that gets delivered to your email inbox or through text alerts. Your Dashboard should include:

  1. HootSuite: A social media dashboard that manages and measures your social networks.

  2. Feedly: A news aggregator application for various Web browsers and mobile devices running iOS and Android, also available as a cloud-based service. It compiles news feeds from a variety of online sources for the user to customize and share with others.

  3. Google Alerts: Google Alerts allows you set-up custom searches for any phrase and receive email or RSS alerts any time your phrase shows up in online media, blogs, web pages, social media sites and news.

  4. Twitter Search: The basic twitter search allows you to set-up searches on your name, company name, brands, competitors, etc. so you can monitor your business and reputation, plus know when people are replying to your tweets. Advanced search allows for real data mining that's very beneficial in protecting your Shadow Footprint

  5. Tweet Beep: TweetBeep is like Google Alerts for Twitter. Great for online reputation management, catching all your @replies and @mentions, finding job/networking opportunities, keeping up on your favorite hobby, and more!

  6. Social Mention: Social Mention is a social media search and analysis platform that aggregates user generated content from across the universe into a single stream of information. It allows you to easily track and measure what people are saying about you, your company, a new product, or any topic across the web's social media landscape in real-time. 

  7. Pipl: Pipl is the most comprehensive people search on the web. Pipl dives into the deep web to bring you results you won't find in any other search engine then we use a powerful identity resolution engine to link those seemingly disparate results into a set of meaningful profiles so you can easily find the person you are looking for. 

  8. 123 People: is a free real time people search tool that looks into nearly every corner of the web. Using proprietary search algorithm, you can find comprehensive and centralized person related information consisting of public records, phone numbers, addresses, images, videos and email addresses.

Once you have your listening station in place, you need to educate yourself on Libel and Internet Defamation legislation in Canada, as well as Online Harrassment and Abuse. Given some pretty high-profile cases in 2012 and 2013, new legislation is being developed to hold people accountable for Internet Defamation, Online harassment and Abuse. Become familiar with federal and provincial legislation.  Know Your Rights!

If someone is harming your Shadow Footprint and it is most definitely a criminal offense, there are 6 steps for you to consider in dealing with the matter:

(1) GET PROOF & EVIDENCE: Use computer and smartphone monitoring software that has the ability to capture online conversations and take pictures of the computer screen, or use screen capture software such as SnagIt or Jing.

(2) FILE A COMPLAINT REPORT: Social Networks have the ability for you to report the person and their comments. For Facebook, visit:  Other social media sites have similar capabilities - search their help section or do a Google search to learn how to report.

(3) APPROACH THE PERSON: Call, write or message the person saying they are committing a cyber crime and to immediately remove all posts and refrain from doing it in the future, otherwise you will report them to the police for Internet Defamation, Online Harassment and Abuse.

(4) TELL THEIR EMPLOYER: If the person is an employee acting on behalf of a company, file a complaint with their employer, advising their employee has committed a cyber crime. Send the evidence, ask for the content to be removed immediately. Inform them if the content is not taken down, or if anything else appears you will file a report with the police for Cyber Crimes, particularly if it is the act of harassment and cyber bullying.

(5) APPROACH OTHER PEOPLE: If the posts appear on someone else's wall or on a picture that was posted, send a message to that person asking for the negative posts to be removed. Advise them a cyber crime was committed and they have a responsibility to protect others online and to shut down the online harassment and abuse if it's happening on their account even if it's someone else that is instigating it.

(6) REPORT, LAY CHARGES, FILE HARRASSMENT & ABUSE CASE: If the cyber crime continues, report the person to the police. If all else fails and the damage warrants the legal cost, file a libel, internet defamation, harassment and abuse affidavit. I strongly suggest working with a lawyer that specializes in Internet Defamation, Harrassment and Abuse cases.

One last point: We as adults need to set the tone and behavior of appropriate online conduct. We are the role models so we must demonstrate being a good digital leader, cyber friend and using the internet and social media for good. This means we must refrain from online complaining against others, including brands, companies and individuals. 

Nancy Beth is an Entrepreneur & Small Business Owner, Founder of Sweet Spot Marketing Canada and a Motivational Speaker for Women & Girl Leadership.
  • As an Internet and Digital Marketing veteranNancy Beth has vast experience in Internet Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Online Safety and Protecting Your Digital Footprint.  Since 2010, Nancy Beth has been highly sought after to share her message on being a Digital Leader, using the Internet & Social Media for good, and how to safely navigate the Social Web. 

    Keynote Speaker | Executive Coach | Training Consultant | Founder of  Sweet Spot Marketing Canada (@sweetmarketing) |(@nbguptill) | Digital Leader |
     Women & Girl Leadership

No comments: