Aaron Keller, Managing Principal, Capsule

There was a time, back in the day, when you could just “Google” yourself and that was the best way to assess the value of your personal brand. Simple quantifiable way to see how many mentions you had on Google’s interwebs (the reference is intentional). And, you could dig deeper into each link to see what others were saying about you.

Then, we entered an era of social media and the digital landscape shifted, even for the brilliant minds at Google. Managing your personal reputation now included not allowing old high school friends to upload and tag photos you believed were forgotten in albums (yes, the arcane way of storing embarrassing photos from childhood). And, while Facebook is one of the largest, you also needed to be aware of and perhaps even managing your reputation in LinkedIN, Twitter, Instagram, Vine and perhaps Pinterest (just to get started).

It has become a bit overwhelming so you question, “why should I care?” Well, unless you’re a billionaire and old enough to give a rats asterisk about your reputation in the digital universe, it matters (think owner of LA basketball team). It matters because your reputation helps get you a job, income and food on the table. It matters because you can spend decades being true to your values and then find someone has attached something false to your name. Decades of living by certain standards can be undone in a simple mention in the digital universe.

Then the small things, people and brands who sit facing backwards on your coattails and use your reputation to build their own brand. This can be as simple as a person referencing how well they know you in order to get a job with an ex-colleague of yours. And, it can apparently show up in the world of social media. Here’s a recent example brought to my attention by a gentleman (Scott Petinga) considering a class action suit against a gigantic brand in social media.

Are you sure you LIKE something? When you see someone’s name come up (see the image below) as Liking a particular brand, it may surprise you that they may NOT have actually clicked LIKE as it clearly indicates. I was first made aware of this tricky method by Facebook by Scott Petinga. So, I started to look for it and asked my wife if she found brands claiming I LIKED them, but seemed a bit odd based on her view of my reputation (Personal Brand).

Here’s the first. Cub Foods. I have nothing against Cub Foods, but our firm, helped rebrand Byerly’s, hence I haven’t found a need to LIKE Cub Foods. Certainly not a big ding on my personal brand, but it is a shady method to influence my friends with a false statement. And, it makes me wonder, how many times does my name come up as LIKING something I have not and what other brands is my name attached to in the Facebook universe?

This has led to a request, if you’re a friend of mine on FB, please tell me if you see my name attached to a brand you wouldn’t expect. Send it my way. And, I suggest you do the same in your personal network to see what Facebook is up to with this shady method.

And, if it makes you angry enough, contact Scott Petinga and get yourself on his class action lawsuit.

Thank you for reading and if your reputation is important to you, start looking into this behavior.