Online identity management is the process of shaping and guarding one's cyber footprint or online persona. While many Internet users have no need to manage their online presence or engage in virtual personal reputation management, many hold positions that require them to market their name online in a professional capacity or at the very least make information available for others to peruse in cyberspace. For many, online identity management offers the opportunity to separate personal from professional identities via the creation of multiple profiles. Efforts toward online image management allow individuals to highlight subject matter expertise, brand-related achievements, and generate a positive buzz and impress others.
Those interested in this type of identity management should consider taking a number of active steps to create or enhance their virtual reputation, regardless of whether it is personal or professional. Failure to take any measures can mean the difference between flourishing and floundering online. Many people create blogs or websites devoted to their purpose or brand. Social networking websites offer another way increase online exposure by creating profiles and pages devoted to the brand and provide another opportunity for adding links to additional information that can serve to educate readers.
Many people go a step further and make a point of following others in a similar industry and cross-referencing their information in an effort to "spread the word." Logos and taglines attached to any e-mail or instant message communications are additional ways to advertise a personal brand online and help vital details reach a target audience. Last but not least, free article publisher websites offer a cost-effective way to post articles containing information that will help promote a brand. Authors that post more frequently are more likely to be more frequently read or followed. As an added bonus, these sites often provide a section for information about the author which offers further opportunity for online identity management and brand growth.
There are few techniques to employ in order to keep personal and professional identities separate. Online identity management can be facilitated by using a real name for professional online ventures and nicknames for those that are purely personal in nature. It is also important to select an avatar or small thumbnail-sized picture to use that reflects either a personal or professional status. Use of these pictures helps online viewers to put a face with a name, which can help enhance an online reputation.