The 4th of July is set aside for the recognition of freedom and history. It's also, unfortunately, a time for wild celebrations that combine heat, alcohol and exploding objects.
Consider this: The Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests that some 230 families head to emergency rooms every year due to injuries caused by fireworks. And this year, in Austin alone, some 31 people were arrested for suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
Can we say: reputation damage?
If your celebrations got a little out of hand and you're dealing with a huge cleanup this week, you can rest and relax. Start by taking these 5 steps to make things better.
1. Look through the posts you made on Facebook, and delete anything nasty.
If your memory of the whole weekend is more than a little hazy, but you do seem to have a glimmering image of Facebook somewhere in your mind, you may have photos that are causing you damage, right now.
Posting pictures that include drinking is common. And a study from 2009 suggests that many users post photos like this because they think the shots make them look somehow cool or desirable. They're in party situations, so they have friends nearby, and they're posing for carefree snaps that demonstrate mirth and whimsy. In theory, this should make users look pretty good.
But, Facebook photos that contain drinking behavior tend to have a dampening impact on a person's reputation. People searching for you online may not think that you're somehow cool or desirable when they see photos of you looking drunk or frazzled. They may just think of you as someone who drinks too much, too often. And that could keep you from getting a job, a promotion or a date.
Sure, Facebook posts with booze are common. (In Britain, according to researchers, some 76 percent of users are drunk in their photos.) But as part of your post-July cleanup, you should take down anything that could cast you in a negative light. So take those snaps down, pronto.
2. Make sure you're not tagged in a Facebook photo that makes you look bad.
If you resisted the urge to post photos of your drunkenness, you may not be out of the woods quite yet. That's because your friends may have taken snaps of you and tagged you in them.
In theory, you'd get a notification each time someone tagged you in a photo. But if you're like me and you dislike all of the notifications Facebook sends from dawn to dusk, you may have those notifications turned off or down. That means you may be under fire without even knowing about it.
The best way to deal with this particular problem is to open up your notifications and remove any tag you see. Then, follow this advice from Facebook to keep your tags invisible:
- Open up your account, and head to "privacy settings."
- Click on the "customize settings" button.
- Scroll to the "things other share" setting, and select "customize."
- Look for the "photos and videos I'm tagged in" option, and select "customize."
- Select "only me" to make your tagged photos invisible.
- With this series of steps, photos you're tagged in won't show up on your profile.
3. Look out for mugshots.
If your weekend of celebrating ended with a trip to the police department, you have extra issues to deal with. As part of your booking process, you were likely photographed. And that photograph (or mugshot) is part of the public record, and it's probably available on all sorts of mugshot-gathering websites.
It's a problem, and it could grow with time. Your mugshot could spread from one mugshot website to another, unless you take action.
If your mugshot is so new that you haven't had a chance to fight back against the charges and clear your name, you probably can't get the site administrators to remove the photo for free. But with a small fee, that photo could be pulled down quickly. And that could be great for your reputation.
4. Watch for court cases.
Epic DIY fireworks displays can, at times, be so divisive that neighbors turn against one another, and they file court paperwork. If that's happened to you and you woke up this morning to a summons, your court case could be online, too.
That's something we've discussed on the blog before. And in most cases, we can get a court case removed for you (more on that in a bit). But you'll need to be sure to tell us where the case appears and whether or not it's true, so we can do our best work for you.
5. Start a blog.
Once you've uncovered everything about you and your weekend, you'll understand just how much damage has been done, and you'll probably be really motivated to change things around.
A blog can help, and according to some experts, you can get one up and running in as little as 20 minutes. By starting that process, you'll be on your way to providing positive, uplifting, accurate content that reflects who you are and what you believe in, and that can help you to fight back against all sorts of negative stuff on Google.
So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and get started!
And as always, remember that we're here for you with custom monitoring solutions, data erasure and content generation. Just contact us to get started. We want to help!
Protect your reputation online.