In today’s hyper-connected world, keeping tabs on your online identity is becoming increasingly important. Although there isn’t much you can do to stop others from saying what they will, you can be (more) proactive in how you represent yourself to the greater interwebs community @ large with a few simple steps.
First of all, it’s a really good idea to literally take ownership of yourself – i.e. register YourName.com. For less than the cost of a movie ($10/yr w/free privacy from big G, for example) you will own your digital namesake. In the same way that you wouldn’t stand for impostors in “real” life, why let other Your Names represent you online when you can clearly rep. yourself the best. Not to mention, web-estate is being gobbled up @ a breakneck pace these days, now that everyone and their mom (literally) surf the ‘nets. And, don’t be afraid to include a brief bio, something that you would confidently share with potential employers, your parents, and strangers alike.
Third, if you are serious about your online persona, consider signing up for a self-named (@yourname) Twitter account. You don’t have tweet about your every move (or at all, of course), but you will increase your name exposure in search results and, at a minimum, you can simply use the service to link to your personal site, LinkedIn page, or whatever you feel represents your best interests.
Finally, (most all of this is plain ol’ common sense) don’t post questionable content and/or comments under your real name…get yourself a secondary email address and a non-personal alias for your less than kosher endeavors. The last thing you want is for all your hard work and reputation to be ruined based on some questionable (probably stupid) drunken rant or embarrassing photo.