Posted by: Ian Ross | June 3, 2008

You Snooze, You Lose Your Identity Online

You must be proactive in the social media world if you hope to keep control of your brand, image or identity. I’ve heard this line a million times over the past few years; yet too many people and firms are still being attacked… and don’t even know it. 

There are simply no excuses anymore for being too busy, too old or too relaxed. You must go on the offensive.

Two more examples came to my attention this week. In Toronto, veteran city councillor Howard Moscoe was shocked to find out that someone else had created and was maintaining a Facebook account with his identity. The fake profile contained some harsh words for city councillor Rod Ford. But Moscoe didn’t know until someone mentioned they had become his Facebook friend. That triggered an online investigation led by his granddaughter.

Searching for some information yesterday on PR mega-agency Hill and Knowlton, I clicked on its wikipedia page. More than two-thirds of the entry outlines examples of the company’s propaganda and unethical campaigns.  And its history page shows little effort to correct or re-balance the wiki entry.

If you are not there to defend yourself or your company, how will your friends, family and clients know they have the wrong info or profile?

A few quick tips to retain your social media identity:

  • Create a profile for yourself on the major social networking sites — wikipedia, Facebook, youTube and MySpace. And check in at least once a week.
  • Set up a Google Alert for your name or company.
  • Search your name and company name periodically with Google and Technorati.
  • Stay on top of social media trends.
  • Keep your ear out for people suggesting they connected with you or read about your company in a way that is unfamiliar.


This isn’t meant to be a full list of what you can do. Just the basics. But much better than nothing at all.

Any other suggestions?



  1. Another great tool is, a relatively new company for social media monitoring. They are offering a ‘Freemium Account’ that allows you to monitor up to two search terms without subscribing to the service. I’ve been using it for the last month or so and I think it’s great!

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