The Internet has been one of the most powerful and disruptive
technologies to emerge since the invention of the printing press. We
are lucky to be able to watch its growth and development. And we all
profit from the instantaneous universality of the Internet: We can re-
search almost any topic that can be imagined, communicate with far-
away friends and family, meet new people, and participate in online
politics and discussion.
But this same power to instantly transmit information world-
wide has also changed the rules of reputation. Thanks to the power
of the Internet, everyday citizens now have more control over the
reputations of their peers than at any other point in history: A sin-
gle blogger working alone can make or break almost anybody’s rep-
utation. And the technology of the Internet means that people can
work anonymously when shaping (or destroying) reputations.
Embrace the Internet
The good news is that you can use these changes to your advan-
tage. The Internet presents you with the opportunity to control and
shape your own reputation. You can influence the information that
people find about you and highlight your accomplishments and posi-
tive traits. Taking control of your reputation allows you to put your
best foot forward online, whether or not you have been subject to at-
tack. Building positive content now serves as a form of defense against
negative content later—think of it as a necessary precaution, like in-
surance on your car or antivirus software for your computer. Building
positive content also advances your image and standing in the com-
munity generally: Your online first impression is often your only first
impression. If you run a small business, you can find new customers
and improve the standing of your business in the community.
Anyway, the Internet cannot be ignored. It is a permanent pres-
ence in our lives, so we might as well embrace its power rather than
fight against it. Get fired up, and get out there to change and improve
your online image. Determine what your goals are, and then use the
professional tools and techniques you learned from this book in or-
der to proactively make your online image goals into reality. Thanks
to your hard work, you are now prepared to use the Internet as an
opportunity to grow and expand your personal life and your busi-
ness. So get out there and put your best foot forward online!
Wild West 2.0250

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