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All your life, you have carefully created and build your reputation. You decided on how you wanted to be perceived and thus acted accordingly. And then you created a Facebook. And then Twitter. Then you joined Instagram, LinkedIn, Vine, and the list goes on and on.

What is your personal brand? If I solely looked at your twitter profile, what things do I think you represent by your posts and retweets? Is it you the professional or you the one who just posted an ‘at the time funny’ yet inappropriate picture of your friend?

Here’s the Main Point: Nothing on the internet is private. I don’t care if you have blocked your pictures or protected your tweets. Once you post something on the Web, it is there forever, and anyone can find it. Don’t believe me? Check out this CNN article about 10 people who got fired for social media mistakes: http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/06/living/buzzfeed-social-media-fired/index.html

1.     Manage your LinkedIn Account

Ensure your LinkedIn profile is updated and use it to your advantage. Post your career interests; LinkedIn is the perfect way to develop a professional, social brand.

2.     Create a Twitter Account (and Use It)

Make sure you’re actively creating content. Post about things that interest you, keeping in mind each post should be appropriate. Never post something you wouldn’t want your future employer or boss to see.

3.     Set Your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/etc. Private if Necessary

Depending on your job and the constituency with which you interact, decide what privacy settings are necessary for your social profiles. If you have to question whether or not you want people to see something, be safe and just block it.

4.     Think Before You Post (or Send)

ALWAYS THINK. Make sure posts are not offensive and would not cause harm both to others and your personal brand. Again, if you have to question whether or not you should post it, just don’t. Better to be safe than sorry.

Bottom Line, you control the destiny of your personal, social brand. Don’t let others take your online reputation away from you. Create content that enhances your brand, not destroys it. Embrace your personal brand and take ownership of it.