Reputation Management and Social Media: How people monitor their identity and search for others online


More than half (57%) of adult Internet users say they have used a search engine to look up their name and see what information was available about them online, up from 47% who did so in 2006.

Young adults, far from being indifferent about their digital footprints, are the most active online reputation managers in several dimensions. For example, more than two-thirds (71%) of social networking users ages 18-29 have changed the privacy settings on their profile to limit what they share with others online. These findings form the centerpiece of a new report from the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project that looks at reputation and online identity management in the age of social media. The report is based on a telephone survey conducted in August and September of 2009 of 2,253 adults, ages 18 and older, including 560 cell phone interviews. Reputation management has now become a defining feature of online life for many Internet users, especially the young. While some Internet users are careful to project themselves online in a way that suits specific audiences, other Internet users embrace an open approach to sharing information about themselves and do not take steps to restrict what they share.

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