By Anne Collier
So many online reputation experts say the most basic tool is to Google yourself that it seems only natural Google would come out with its own rep-management tool. “The tool, ‘Me on the Web,’ is now included on the Google dashboard in between account information and analytics,” reports a USATODAY blog. Google’s explanation is something that needs to become intuitive to every Web user: “Your online identity is determined not only by what you post, but also by what others post about you — whether a mention in a blog post, a photo tag or a reply to a public status update.” This is why, whether celebrities or not, all social-media users need to be managing their public image now (we all need to get in touch with our inner spin doctor or political consultant). It’s also no longer a solitary responsibility. Reputation management is now a shared proposition – in a medium where people upload photos of each other, for example – and sometimes a negotiation (which is why it made sense for Facebook to institute social abuse reporting – see this). This is also why digital citizenship is so key to everybody’s online safety. USATODAY says Google’s “new dashboard section encourages you to keep tabs on [others’] mentions [of you] by setting up search alerts for data points included in your Google profile, like your name and e-mail address.” Users have been able to do this as long as Google has provided search alerts (a long time), but now the capability is neatly packaged into “Me on the Web.” “Google’s new tool also includes links to resources about managing online identity and removing unwanted content,” USATODAY adds.