Online security and branding


An article in Consumer Reports touched on online security this month. This was my inspiration for writing about online security and online branding. The two concepts are linked for me, because I am careful about how I manage my profile and how much information that I wish to share.

I know of 2 cases of female lawyers who did not have their photos on the company web site, because of unwanted attention from cyberstalkers (Source: Use of web site photos a personal choice by Julius Melnitzer, Law Times, April 27, 2009, need subscriber access). Interestingly accounting firms advocate a team effort and don’t profile their professionals individually, according to Melnitzer. A brief search on my part unearthed individual profiles at Ernst & Young but not at Deloitte.

The Consumer Reports article also featured tips for 5 ways to stay safer online. One of the tips was choosing the privacy settings on social networking sites. It recommends to leave out year if you do include birthday. One of my profiles shows a fake birthday which can be confusing when people wish me happy birthday on my bogus birthday. See other tips here.

Seth Godin recently urged people to update their personal photos. I admit having an old photo can be just as misleading and unhelpful as no photo. Blogger Connie Crosby is good at updating her photos and she looks fabulous to boot. Godin especially urged people to get a professional head shot done, if their goal is promote their online brand.

To sum up, I am all in favour of current and professional photos for social networking sites. You want to promote your brand in a polished and credible manner. In a long forgotten study of newspaper columnists who had photos versus newspaper columnists without photos, the ones with photos were deemed more credible by readers. But, if my photo led to promoting unwanted interest and harassment, I would pull my photo in a heartbeat to protect myself and my family.

~ Brenda


One Response to “Online security and branding”

  1. I hadn’t thought about the link between security and branding, other than the idea that I am best to occupy the space in a social network than to leave it empty and risk someone impersonating me. This especially concerns large organizations, and there have recently been cases of online impersonators. Even the Dalai Lama has not been unaffected!

    Thank you for the comments about my photo. I change my look frequently, and if my photo on the various sites does not match up with what I look like in person, I get complaints from people since they either can’t find me in person or don’t mentally make the connection between the real person with the online persona. Heaven forbid someone should be looking for a blonde in the crowd when I am really brunette! Fortunately here in Toronto I have access to Rannie Turingan who has reasonable prices for personal & business portraits and is frequently at events to take photos that are suitable for avatars.


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