Protecting Your Internet or Social Image

Their using my image to slam the industry I work in.

Protecting your image is more then Goggling your company information, but actively looking in other areas.  I recently was searching groups in Facebook and came across Mothers Against People Making Balloon Animals While Driving (MAMAPMBAWD).  As a balloon entertainer this group name caught my interest, so I thought I would check them out.

The group which was found in February 28, 2007,  described itself as “A group to warn people of making balloon animals while driving. Just last year balloon animals were responsible for more than 100,000 fatalities on American roads. This is also a support group for people who knew someone lost to a balloon accident.”   The group listed its email as ihateballoons@balloonskillspeople.com, (email address is a fake, no domain with that address) located in USA, location 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW AKA the address for the White House. The category was listed, Just for Fun – Totally Random, which as I quickly determined was somebody trying to be comedic and made up a fake group.

However, the MAMAPMBAWD chose to use a balloon sculpture image that I use on my business card, web site and in a magazine submission.  Balloon entertainers around the world recognize the image and know it is associated with Magical Balloon-dude Dale aka Dale Obrochta.

If I wasn’t searching for new groups to join in Facebook, I would have never seen this negative balloon group that had my picture associated with them as their logo.  Having a good network of Facebook follower is asked

“I just found a group using one of my balloon pictures as their group logo – anybody know how to STOP THEM from USING IT? (Line to offending page) OR HOW TO REPORT IT TO FB.

In less than 1 minute, I had a response, in two minutes I had a second response.  These insightful people lead me to a location on the Facebook page to contact the Administrator, which no longer existed.  I then was shown that a link to Facebook Abuse page which I filed a formal complaint.  I’m just waiting for Facebook to remove the group.

Since the group is basically non-functional, I wasn’t worried about negative ramifications, but still, it’s been there since 2007, no need to have a negative image associated with me. I might as well take the 5-minutes to remove a blemish from my name.

What have I learned from this?  It’s important to keep checking out groups, forums, blogs, and social media outlets periodically to ensure that my image projects the image that I want to portray. Take the time and do a little research on Facebook, Twitter,  Yelp, Foursquare, Google, and Yahoo and see what dirt you can dig up on yourself.  Then rectify it!

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