How friends can ruin your online reputation

How Friends Can Ruin Your Online Reputation


Long before Facebook and Twitter, friends and colleagues networked by meeting for coffee and a chat. If you wanted to connect with like-minded individuals for jobs or business opportunities, you joined a local club. Times have changed in the world of Web 2.0. Often, your “friends” on social media websites like Twitter and Facebook are virtual strangers.  Either you’ve never met them in person or you haven’t talked to them in so many years that you hardly know them anymore.

That’s not to say that these kinds of relationships are necessarily bad. These phantom friends can become mutually beneficial connections. However, they can also wreck havoc with your online reputation. This article will detail how friends can ruin your online reputation, and how you can balance your contacts on Twitter and Facebook while still protecting your online reputation.

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Maintain a positive online reputation when social networking

Your Internet reputation is based largely on how you’re perceived on social networks. Facebook has grown to super-site proportions in the past few years, and it’s likely that everyone from employers to insurance agencies will judge you by what they see. For this reason, it’s important that your friends list on Facebook and your follow list on Twitter are made up of people who you feel reflect the online reputation you wish others to see.


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Control your Internet reputation by adhering to four key rules

The upside to social networking is that the entire world is accessible and feels connected. The downside? Most of the time, you have no idea whom you are even talking to online. There are ways how friends can ruin your online reputation.  In the quest to boost your online reputation, you may add anyone and everyone to your friends and follow lists. When using social networking websites, keep in mind the following four key rules:

  • Remember, your follow list quality on Twitter is more important than the number of people following you.

  • Following too many users on Twitter is not always beneficial to your online reputation.

  • Do not accept Facebook friend requests from people you are unsure of.

  • Monitor Twitter lists and Facebook “like” pages with caution.

The online reputation of regular Twitter users is based on users they follow and on who follows them. Be aware that the entire world can see the list of users you are following. Avoid following users who only retweet certain keywords or who have suggestive photos as their avatars. Having these types of Twitter users on your follow list could lead to a negative online reputation.

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Occasionally you’ll see users on Twitter who follow a larger number of people than they have following them. What these users don’t know is that there is a negative perception of individuals who have a larger ratio of those they follow as opposed to who follows them. When you follow a new user who clicks on your profile to view your stats, most users take note of how many other people you follow.

If you follow 1,000 users and you only have 200 followers, your odds of gaining a positive online reputation on Twitter will significantly decrease. Although quickly gathering a large following on Twitter is tempting, it’s best to take a slow and simple approach. Focus on making connections, and utilize the service as a strong platform for marketing and publicity.

Accepting Facebook friend requests from people you don’t know may infringe on your digital privacy. Are you aware how friends can ruin your online reputation?

Most Facebook users mix business with pleasure on their profiles, and their privacy settings are formatted to allow personal information to be viewed by their Facebook friends. Allowing unknown individuals access to your personal data can open the door to identity theft.


Remove yourself from Twitter lists to protect your online reputation

List pages on Twitter are a relatively new addition to the website and can be used to filter Tweets if you follow many different types of people. Getting added to lists can be valuable to your Internet reputation, but beware of being added to lists that you clearly don’t belong to. If you find that you have been added to a list that has an inappropriate title, that reveals any of your personal information or that isn’t relevant to the type of online reputation you want to portray, you should ask to be removed. If you need to remove yourself, you can block users then unblock them. Your Twitter handle will then be removed from the list.

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Avoid creating Facebook “like” pages unless the page promotes positive brand reputation management.

The “like” pages on Facebook are a great form of self-promotion, but they can also menace your online reputation. If you launch a like page and you have hundreds of people liking you, the page will be an excellent way to market yourself. More often than not, though, it’s difficult to build up a following on a like page. If your future clients search for you and only come up with ten people who like you, it may reflect negatively on your online reputation. Don’t launch a like page until you have a respectable number of followers who will actively participate in your page.

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