Online reputation is becoming so pervasive that it’s almost time to drop the word “online.” Essentially, your online reputation is your reputation, professional and personal. Here’s why:

The Internet is our first stop for everything

  • Two out of three people see the Internet as the most reliable source of information about a person or a business .
  • 70% of hiring managers have rejected a candidate because of something they found online .
  • When looking for a local business, 97% of people read online reviews .

Looking at statistics like these, it’s clear that what happens online affects your entire life.

Online and offline are blending

With each passing day, the online world becomes more and more enmeshed with the rest of our activities. From smartphones to smart TVs, from the “Internet of things” to the self-driving cars of the future—you are living each day increasingly online, even if you never touch a computer.

That means there are more and more ways for you to leave an online mark, positive or negative.

Now, you might not think that people are searching for you, but chances are they are. Common reasons include:

  • Employers doing pre-interview research
  • Landlords looking into prospective renters
  • Children searching for details of their parents’ “real lives”
  • Curious significant others, past and present
  • Former colleagues looking to share professional opportunities

No matter how “under the radar” or “low-tech” your lifestyle, there is a good quantity of information about you online—and people are seeing it.

Your online reputation is forever

If someone writes something negative about you online, it can put you at a serious disadvantage over the long term—especially if you’re not aware of it. You might never know why you didn’t get that apartment you wanted, or why a job offer never materialized after that phenomenal interview.

It’s important to keep tabs on what people are saying about you online and then take steps to correct any inaccuracies.