Me and My Web Shadow: How to Manage Your Reputation Online
by Antony Mayfield
188 pages, A & C Black, 2010
“What happens when someone puts your name into Google or Facebook? If you don’t know, you should maybe find out.” This is how Antony Mayfield, author of the best-selling book Me and My Web Shadow, invites the reader to consider the importance of being in charge of our online lives.
Mayfield is Senior Vice President of Social Media at the Digital Marketing Agency iCrossing. His experience in public relations and communications includes working for Bell Pottinger, and clients have included Coca-Cola, Vodafone, Marks & Spencer, Toyota, Channel 4, Sony Playstation and Dell.
Certainly, Mayfield has transferred his online copywriting skills to Me and My Web Shadow and has created an easy to read and use book. After the Introduction, there is a small section called If you read nothing else…, in which the author describes briefly some of the main concepts of the book under the title: “The top then rules for managing your web shadow”. Some of the rules Mayfield describes are: finding out what Google says about you and considering that since the web is embedded in our daily lives, there is no such a thing as “off the record” online.
After the introductory sections, Mayfield divides the book in three parts:
- Welcome to the Web Age
- Managing your Web Shadow
- Practical advice for digital lives
Welcome to the Web Age gives a brief history of the web and outlines what its future may hold. But most importantly, it highlights the relevance of becoming responsible “citizens of the networks”, as Mayfield points: “We need to develop our literacy and understanding of the networks, and take part in the evolution of the web. If we are taking part positively, with awareness of how it works, we are helping to build the future for the web.”
In the second part, Managing your Web Shadow, Mayfield suggests a work plan to manage your online reputation. This considers how to make an analysis of your online situation, how to define your objectives, where to establish your presence, how to make it grow and enhance your professional reputation and how to review your progress. It also includes specific tips to manage your reputation if you are looking for a job or if you are self-employed.
The last part, Practical advice for digital lives, explains how to create and maintain your web shadow content, as well as tools to connect with others, such as: Delicious, SlideShare and Flickr. Here, Mayfield includes useful charts to describe what each tool is, where to get it, its benefits and alternatives. Besides, he proposes a wide variety of tools to explore, maintain and manage your online reputation such as: Pipl, Spokeo, Extendr, Domainr, Posterous, Tumblr among others. This part also details information about how to get started and the features of LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Blogs.
A special mention must be made to the book’s attention on privacy settings. On these topics, Mayfield gives the reader advice on security and privacy issues, provides examples of how to deal with inconveniences online and suggests other sources to get further information.
Overall, Me and My Web Shadow is a good way to understand how to manage your online reputation and with this, increase your chances of being in the right place at the right time, as Mayfield mentions: “The web is a synchronicity engine, in that it greatly increases the incidence of (mostly) pleasant coincidences.”
Furthermore, the value of this book also lies in its ability to make the reader more sensitive about how to make the web or “serendipity engine”, a better and safer place for all to use.