The Importance of Your Viral Footprint

viral

Anyone who’s typed his or her name into Google, knows that personal information really isn’t so…personal. In fact, private information can pretty much pop up anywhere. In particular, students are being schooled on the dangers of social media, but those lessons apply to anyone who is applying for a job.

I was recently interviewed by Michael P. Grace, CEO of MPG Ventures, LLC, for a publicity opportunity. We were talking about his product Virallock, an online monthly monitoring service that offers social media guidance and helps clients, such as busy professionals and students, keep Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages clean and professional.

Mr. Grace credits his two teenage boys for inspiring his latest business venture: “From my experience as a parent, and having been a very adventurous teenager once myself, I know that our kids often make decisions while at an age when they’re much too young to understand the long term consequences of those decisions. In the case of social media sites, these decisions can manifest themselves in the pictures they choose to post, the tone and language of posts on their wall, tweets or blogs, etc. I wanted to create a service that focused on educating teens and young adults about the importance of establishing and maintaining a positive online image.”

Mr. Grace says that in today’s society keeping a positive online image can often be as important as your GPA. “College admission counselors, hiring managers, human resource departments, potential clients and partners are all using social media at an increasing rate to learn more about who you are as a person,” he explains. “If I give you my resume, I am giving you a two-dimensional view of who I am. If you can view my online image and therefore see the ‘Viral Footprint’ that I have created, then you get a more three-dimensional view of who I am. Unfortunately we are painfully aware from media reports and stories we hear from friends and family of the ways in which people are damaging their ability to achieve their goals because of something they posted online.”

Virallock was created to educate and monitor that online image and enhance clients’ abilities to achieve their goals. Virallock’s database has over 4,000 words, phrases, acronyms and text lingo that is referenced against any new post to clients. “We offer a monitoring service that functions very much like credit monitoring services do,” shares Mr. Grace. “During the sign-up process, our clients create an account, which gives them access to their own customer portal. This is where they can view all of the information about their interaction with our counselors and the monitoring service. If any content matches anything from our database, Virallock automatically sends the client an email noting that there has been a post with questionable content that needs to be addressed. This can help with detecting bullying, predatory activity or ‘sexting’ on these sites.” This added protection especially gives parents of teens peace of mind.

My meeting with Mr. Grace went smoothly, but I did find myself wondering if he had looked into my profile, and it occurred to me that I have two LinkedIn pages (I was never able to delete my old account after starting a second). When asked, Mr. Grace said he did in fact search my online profile before our meeting. I fessed up about my failure to delete the second LinkedIn account, and my tendency to tweet on extremely rare occasions. He smiled and said, “We can help you with that.”

Since Mr. Grace admitted to looking at my social media pages before sitting down with me, I realized I should be more aware of what I’m putting on my Facebook page. After learning the importance of cleaning up my online profile, I have updated my LinkedIn account. Now it’s time to tackle Twitter, before my own kids turn into teens.

I am not sure if I will be handling publicity for Mr. Grace, but I can say that I will be more prepared for my next go-around when it comes to my own online profile.

Virallock is offering a special right now for readers of this blog. Readers will receive level 1 service for free, with 1 month of the monitoring service included, with subsequent months of the monitoring for $9.99 per month. click here or call 1-855-VIRALLOCK for more information.

Christine Bachman

About Christine Bachman

Christine Bachman is founder and president of Plan It PR, a public relations and marketing firm. The mother of five shares tips and survival stories in “Play Dates and Power Lunches.” Ms. Bachman started working public relations after a long career in broadcast journalism, which included work as a television anchor, reporter and producer.