A few days ago we had an interesting conversation on Facebook discussing what you should do (digitally-wise) once your baby is born. It started from this meme:
… and developed into us sharing what we (might) do to make our kid’s future career easier. The Internet has changed our personal careers paths dramatically: Most employees look for prospective interviewees’ web records even before setting up the actual meeting.
So can we help our kids with their personal reputation management?
One of the most obvious things to do once your spouse and you agree on the baby’s name is to register the exact-match domain (if possible) for your kid not to have to worry about it when he/she grows up.
But really how crazy should you go about securing your kid’s digital future?
Well, personal reputation management is huge nowadays, and conversely so is identity hijacking. If we can in any way help our children to own their online identities, why not?
After all, you have two obvious choices:
- Make sure your kid has a very wide-spread common first and last name (In this case, you don’t have to worry about your kid’s online reputation: There are hundreds of people sharing the same search results page) OR
- Make sure your kid’s name is more or less unique and when he / she grows up, they will be easy to get found in whatever search engine we are going to use then.
In the latter case, securing important domains and usernames may be a good idea actually.
Helping your kids control their web identities may be crucial for their future. Dan Gillmor has put it very well:
[We] are partly who others say we are. That’s a key reason why each of us needs to be one of the voices (preferably the most prominent) defining us. To the extent that they live public lives in any way – and like it or not, it’s getting harder not to be public in some way – tomorrow’s adults will need an online home that they control. They need an online home, a place where they tell the world who they are and what they’ve done, where they post their own work, or at least some of it.
What to Register
A domain is an investment and when you deal with kids, this investment is for at least 10-15 years to come.
Domains are not expensive nowadays but seriously, there’s no way you can register ALL of the variations. There are lots of them! And the list is going to be growing.
So which one to secure?
I suggest going with .com
I have no idea what the Internet is going to be in 15 years but I think .com domains will remain as common and popular as they are now or were 5 years ago.
If there is any other top level domains that fit particularly well, why not consider them as well. I’d register ann.smarty once .smarty becomes a top level domain, for example.
What to Do with That Domain
Keeping it registered is already very thoughtful of you but we know that sites are more valuable than domains.
There’s no reason to keep your kid’s domain stagnant. Installing WordPress and keeping it hosted is easy and cheap. Here’s one of the easiest guides on starting a simple blog: Your kid’s blog is just a couple of steps away.
Updating a blog is easy, you can even do it via email: So you can simply use it to collect photos and memories (Like that email address idea we started from. The difference is that hosting everything on your own sites means you actually own the collection).
What Else to Secure?
Owning your domain name is only one step. Today’s digital identity is spread across multiple social media platforms – owning all of those is also essential to better control your child’s identity.
Do we know which ones are there to stay in 10 or more years?
Will there be Twitter? – Hopefully yes!
Will there be Facebook? – It seems so…
Will there be Google Plus? – I wouldn’t count on that…
Will there be new ones? – Absolutely yes…
How to keep track of emerging social media platforms to register your kid’s name there?
Knowem has a cool service that lets you register your name on all imaginable social media platforms to secure them for your child. They also offer a subscription service that will continue to secure your name on 20 new and emerging social networks every month, so you never miss out on any new ones:
Have you ever thought about securing your children’s digital future? Please share your thoughts in the comments!
Even though we’ve been all skeptic (quite rightfully so judging from a few of Google’s miserable attempts to enter the social media business), Google Plus is still alive and even thriving. In many industries (Travel, technology, business), it’s even rocking!
In my experience (and I am in one of the most popular Google Plus niches: Search and social media), Google Plus has a huge potential of connecting you to influencers and sending traffic to your site.
Here are a few things I’ve found:
- Google Plus posts have a much longer life span than Twitter updates (especially for visual content)
- Google Plus lets you better target your updates than any other social network (Thanks to circles which are surprisingly working)
- Google Plus posts may give your Google search visibility (in personalized results: Your friends will often see you photo and your update when searching Google). This results in even longer life span: Sometimes I see my one-year-old update suddenly get new likes!
- Google Plus can send a good traffic to your site (Not as good as Google, in some industries not as good as Facebook and Pinterest, but definitely better than Twitter)
- Google Plus updates can rank in general Google search results that make their lifespa enormous. Sometimes I get plusses for Google Plys updates that date back to two years ago!
All in all, Google Plus is definitely worth investing your time into. And here are a few tools to help:
1. Google Plus /Explore: G+ Content Marketing
The first tool is Google’s own /Explore section that lets you explore Google Plus trending updates outside of your circles.
Most importantly, the section lets you monitor trending Google #hashtags: If you want a wider a reach for your G+ content, try using those hashtags from time to time to see much better interactions with your updates.
You can also use the section to explore “Related hashtags” to embrace a more targeted approach to Google Plus update tagging.
2. Circloscope: Manage Your Google Plus Circles Easier
This tool has really no alternatives. We talked to its co-founder at our Twitter chat and I started actively using the tool after that (Disclaimer: They gave me a free PRO account to play before the chat).
Some users have reported 1000% growth in followers & engagement after just a few weeks of using Circloscope. I personally got over 2k +1s on a blog post due in large part to using Circloscope smartly
Circloscope has a ton of features and I have yet to discover all of them but here are those I am currently using:
- Discover and circle active users of any community (you can filter results to set the minimum number of followers)
- Discover and circle users who have interacted (liked, re-shared, commented) with the particular Google Plus post
- Discover and circle users who are following you (Who you are not following back)
- Discover people who are not circling you back or who are not active on Google Plus for a long time
- Discover and circle people who are going to the same event you do!
Circloscope is quite powerful for free (the paid version also supports Google Plus business pages and some bulk actions). The only limitation is that you need to be using Google Plus to run it.
3. Cyfe: Monitor Google Plus Hashtags Easier
Cyfe is the only tool I know that allows to effectively monitor Google Plus hashtags. It allows to set up a separate dashboard that would be built of as many widgets you need. I have a separate dashboard for Google Plus searches:
- Monitor search for any or many Google Plus hashtags (Surprisingly, Google hashtags do actually work for visibility!)
- Monitor search for any terms you care about (depending on your niche)
- Whenever you see anything of interest: (1) Go to the update to like and better comment and (2) Add the author to circles. That’s a great way to discover new contacts and generate meaningful interactions!
This tool is browser-based bookmarklet that gives you an easy access to “ripples” (i.e. public shares of any URLs). While you can use Circloscope to add interacts to circles, this one lets you see and participate in various discussions around any URL:
You can use it to discover ripples for your own articles or for any other article where you think you can contribute to a discussion.
And yes, make sure to circle Google Plus users you discuss articles with!
5. CircleCount: Discover Trending Google Plus Communities
Participating in active Google Plus communities is one of the best ways to discover new connections, build traffic and build your Google Plus following. Google Plus does allow you to search for related communities but the search is very limited.
CircleCount ranks Google Plus communities by “fastest growing” which makes it a great discovery tool for active communities. I also like it because I can find some amazing groups there I wouldn’t have thought to look for, such as “Inspirational Quotes” and “Google Plus PRO” tips.
When you are establishing yourself within a community, don’t forget to comment on others’ posts as well. It’s a great way to build following!
Do you have any tools you are using to grow your Google Plus presence? Please share them in the comments!
About the Author: Ann Smarty is the Founder of MyBlogU, the free community allowing bloggers to brainstorm and participate in group interviews. Feel free to catch up with us on Facebook!
At KnowEm we’ve been trying for a while now to see if Google has opened up a way for anyone to grab a vanity URL from Google+. After searching around Google and some other blogs and publications this morning it appears that you cannot claim a vanity URL just yet; however, if you had selected a vanity URL for your old Google Profile those have been grandfathered in to point to your current Google+ profile (here is an example of my own: http://www.google.com/profiles/streko).
The interesting part is that it appears Google may have been removing a lot of those original Google Profile vanity URLs from accounts which represent known brand or trademarked terms. I personally knew of several Google Profile accounts that had trademarked terms in the URL that have since disappeared from search results (using the method that is described below). Is this possibly because they are gearing up for another big midnight name claim like the Great Facebook Land Rush of Ought Nine?
So from reading around the interweb it appears that originally they were rolling this out and matching it to YouTube channels for the inevitable tighter integration of Youtube and Google+. All of the reports that we found which contained links to possibly claim a vanity URL now simply return 404s or just redirect to your Google+ profile page.
As reported by TNW back in March, Google has already announced they are going to be launching a 3rd party commenting system and vanity URLs – the former perhaps requiring the latter, so the question remains when will they roll the new features out? We’re not sure. I have reached out to Google and asked if they have any response as to why we are able to see some users with old Google Profile vanity URLs and some without, and I’ll update this post as soon as I hear a response. So if you’re not already be sure to follow us on twitter (@KnowEm) so you will be alerted to when this is launched in full.
Until then, you may or may not already have a username URL. As far as we can tell it all depends if you created a Google Profile vanity URL when that product was still active. To see if you do have one simply check out:
http://www.google.com/profiles/<Enter either your Gmail address before the @ OR the custom URL you created with Google Profiles here>
If it forwards you directly to your Google+ profile then you are good to go! Do you have a vanity URL? Have you figured out a way to create a vanity URL besides using a 3rd party service like we have previously posted about? Let us know in the comment box below.
So what does this mean for business, trademarks and intellectual property? A lot. This is going to be a whole new can of worms just like the aforementioned Facebook claim. Large and small companies alike that originally thought networks like Twitter and Facebook were “just fads” and never attempted to claim their brand names in social media now have all kinds of headaches trying to retrieve them (in case you’re one of them, contact us and we can help).
For example, we don’t know if these two profiles are actually verified by the social media brands they claim to be, but here are two examples of names we have already found claimed: http://www.google.com/profiles/facebook and
http://www.google.com/profiles/delicious. Can you find any others?
At KnowEm we look forward to a big name claiming rush like this one might become in order to ensure our clients’ Intellectual Property is immediately secured. Until then, if you want to learn more about how you can protect your brand, trademark or IP portfolio, check out our Enterprise Services.
Paul Krugman is an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times and writes that his social media identity was stolen on Google+.
He writes in the Times:
“Well, this is interesting. I hear that the not-so-good people at National Review are attacking me over something I said on my Google+ page. Except, I don’t have a Google+ page.This is the third incident I’m aware of — there may well be more — in which people are claiming to be me. There was also my nonexistent connection with academia.edu, and at least one web opinion piece by someone claiming to be me (and sounding not at all like me)”
Slate reported Krugmans fake identity was writing insensitive commentary in regards to the earthquake:
“Yesterday, a Google+ account belonging to “Paul Krugman” posted this thought experiment about the earthquake.
People on twitter might be joking, but in all seriousness, we would see a bigger boost in spending and hence economic growth if the earthquake had done more damage.”
Obviously this makes Krugman look bad, whether he wrote it or not. Social media identity theft is messy. Individuals who want to maintain solid online reputations must first secure their names accross social media so imposters can’t mess with thier name. Brand managers at corporations must understand their brand is intellectual capital that when soiled affects them in ways we are only beginning to understand.
With the launch of the new Google+ Social Network last week there has been a landrush of (mostly techie) people to start trying out the new service. As with anything new and untested, always be wary of your privacy settings on the web, and especially to whom you’re giving your information.
JULY 6 UPDATE: Someone associated with the site from Turkey got in touch with us and updated their site to include a simple About message which explains they are not trying to do anything malicious, and they are not affiliated with Google. They also changed the appearance to make it look less like an actual Google page. Wasn’t so hard, was it?