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Using Wisk to Clean Up Your Social Media Reputation

November 4th, 2009 | 2 Comments | Posted in Management, Product Management, Social Media

Earlier this week, the makers of Wisk (the ‘ring around the collar’ folks) announced a Facebook application to help you remove pictures on Facebook that you really don’t want the whole world to see.  Most active users of social media services like Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace have at one time or another inadvertently posted something they regret or even worse, had one of their friends post something that in the cold harsh light of day they regret.  The makers of Wisk are not the first company to offer such services.  A Google search for ‘social media reputation repair’ shows over 297,000 links.  Even the ubiquitous and wise Dr. Phil has a solution for this problem – ReputationDefender – a company that he heartily endorses on his show and their website. 

Online reputation management is important in today’s job market.  As the WSJ’s Sarah Needleman noted in a recent piece:

“Indeed, people trolling for jobs on Twitter need to tweet with care—not just when they’re interacting with employers, says Cynthia Shapiro, a former human-resources executive and career coach in Woodland Hills, Calif. Hiring managers could use information they find on Twitter, just as on Facebook, to form opinions about an applicant’s employability. People sometimes disclose personal things over Twitter, like work-family challenges, that an employer couldn’t ask about in an interview but which might color their impression if they knew. For example, if an employer sees on Twitter that a candidate is going through a messy divorce, they might “assume you’re going to be distracted,” Ms. Shapiro says.”

An infamous case of bad Tweeting costing someone a job is CiscoFatty.com.  Ciscofatty.com was a spoof website setup to monetize the Twitter faux pas of a college grad who posted something incredibly stupid in the middle of the worst of the current recession:

“A recent tweet by one would-be Cisco employee proves that when it comes to placing a permanent black mark on your resume via the Internet, Twitter is now the tool of choice. To illustrate, here’s the tweet the now Web-infamous “theconnor” shared with the world:

Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.”

It wasn’t long before Tim Levad, a “channel partner advocate” for Cisco Alert, shared this open response:

Who is the hiring manager. I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.”

It turns out that “theconnor” was 22 year old Connor Riley.  And yes she did not get the job at Cisco.  In the course of the ensuing Internet fallout she was ungraciously labeled ‘CiscoFatty’.  In an interview with MSBNC’s Helen Popkin she explains why she tweeted what she did and how she attempted to recover from the incident.  Riley has subsequently deleted her Twitter account as well as her personal blog where she used a post entitled “Dear Internet Super Heroes” in an attempt to explain her side of the story. 

Social media reputation cleanup sites like ReputationDefender.com or Wisk-IT are fairly limited in what they can do to clean up your social media gaffes.  Generally, for a monthly or annual fee they will provide you with services to monitor your social media presence.  In the event you need to clean something up they will help you contact the publisher or website owner and nicely ask them to take down the offending material.  They can also help you correct inaccurate information, such as Google publishing your unlisted home phone number.  In the event that the nice approach doesn’t work, they can help you ‘bury’ the offending item by creating multiple posts, comments, or Tweets so that when someone does search you the offensive item is buried deep within the search results.

It is still kind of cool to see regular consumer brands crossing over into the social media world in creative ways like Wisk.  Perhaps some other brands could create similar services to leverage their brand power in an effort to help folks recover from social media faux pas.  Here are a few ideas to consider:

Ivory Soap.  A service to wash out vulgarity from your children’s Facebook posts and Tweets.  Kind of like virtually washing out their mouths with soap when you cussed as a child.

Clorox.  Get rid of that nasty Internet DNA that lingers around forever when you post pictures and blog extensively about that ‘Lost Weekend’.

Preparation H.  It automatically de-friends and un-follows people you would consider to be ***holes.

LegalZoom.com.  Automatically generates, serves, and enforces restraining orders against Internet stalkers.

Mary Kay Cosmetics.  Automatically finds every picture of you on the Internet and touches them up to ensure that you always look the best.

Dyson Vacuums.  Powerful to suck up all those nasty sucks.com domains (walmartsucks.com, microsoftsucks.com. parishiltonsucks.com, etc.) that are giving you heartburn while never losing suction. 

Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments.

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2 Responses to “Using Wisk to Clean Up Your Social Media Reputation”

  1. Opthalmo Says:

    I’ve used ReputationDefender in the past, and it is a complete waste of time and money. Their services are basically just profile creation on public sites, and their monitoring is just a hyped-up Google Alert.

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