Getting Linkedin: Securing your professional online identity

Le Meur’s blog should be required reading for anyone who is invested in establishing (or managing) an online presence.

Build and check your virtual identity and online reputation or you will be in trouble Build your virtual identity, fast
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Here some the components of your virtual identity as I see it:
– Google your name. If you have never written anything on the Internet, other people may have done it (press, bloggers, etc). Check what is there, more and more people will check that before or after meeting you, to get a sense of your reputation.
– Become a member of Linked In. Thousands of people in the world every day are joining it. You do not care ? Well, I guess you should because they start talking to their network more than you do and have quicker connections to the people that matter to what they are doing. They will go faster than you with these connections. They will also know better than you who they should work with or hire and as important as that, who they should definitely not trust, because there will be always a friend a click away to tell them not to work with somebody they had troubles with.”

Getting Linkedin is an excellent resource for professionals who want to extend or define their social network. It’s also a means of supporting your professional experience with qualified endorsements. Linkedin is especially useful for freelancers (like myself) who depend on networking as a means of generating regular work.

I’m personally hoping online networking becomes more popular so my partner and I can forego the anxiety of contrived networking opportunities that may or may not yield relevant contact opportunities. Why not streamline the process and get right to the people you want, without wasting time on small talk with the wrong person – let’s face it, professional networking isn’t about making new friends with anybody but establishing relevant and mutually meaningful connections. Who wants to relay their value next to some room temperature canapes when you can bypass all that for something more direct?

So what about you, dear reader? Does online reputation mean anything to you? Is it worth securing? What steps have you taken to define yourself online? Do you worry about the security of online networks? Have you tried out Friendster, Orkut, etc?

Most importantly, if you don’t define your identity, others will define it for you.

UPDATED: Sept. 2007  – I am verified here, here and, of course, here.