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Rule No. 1 Keep Calm Don’t Panic

The first rule to say to anyone when faced with any online reputation management issue is don’t panic there is always help.

Chief online business solutions group COBS GROUP KEEP CALM
Images and pictures  are such a popular thing in the digital age of smart phones, social media and #selfies, these technology advancements have seriously enhanced the ability to capture the moment with the almost  second nature step to instantly ‘share’ the picture on your Facebook ,Instagram ,Twitter, Snapchat and more (trust me there are a lot lot lot more photo sharing options) .

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But what if things get mixed up and you have the same name as a criminal especially a high profile one who has just been sent down for heinous crimes.

Well such a case occurred recently  in the News with ”Ian H. Watkins” from Steps, you can read the full story on Daily Record
the apology of Ian H watkinsImage Credit Daily Record

The unfortunate thing here was the person he was mixed up with in this case not only had the same name and nationality but was also famous and with most things online the spot light goes where the ”Online Drama” is.

The Root of the Problem: 
A particular popular Entertainment News outlet made an error in the situation and even the Google algorithm got things mixed up and was bringing up images of ”Ian H Watkins” and the other person who shall not be named because naming him here will still further exacerbate the situation.
bbc news story mix uppImage credits to
(Read the full story on the BBC website)

Although its important to note the news site apologized as soon as they were made aware, huge credit to H’s management and legal team for swift handling of this, one key point to note here is how people may take what they read online as fact straight away and the far reaching effects of information provided by a credible source in this modern day of internet and social media .

Cyber Abuse, Trolls and Knee Jerk Reactions:
Unfortunately some people read the article with the mix up, had their minds made up and didn’t don’t do any further research because had they done so they would have realised the mix up and known Ian H was not at fault but alas that was not the case and H as well as another namesake ”Ian the Business man” from Peterborough had to deal with misguided  and unruly cyber abuse.
the mix upRead the full story here on the Daily Mail website

Please bear in mind that in this sort of situation its not so easy to distinguish between the trolls and the infuriated. However, its also important to note that there is an argument for people to say that when they see something from a credible source they expect it to be true and as such they reacted accordingly.

The Steps That Should be Taken in This Situation

Now lets rewind and imagine that on the day when this mix up all began this post had already been written  here’s what could have helped the situation.

The Twitter Background Public Service Announcement
To stop/prevent the ”Twitter Trolls” and other ”infuriated” Tweeps from getting going, a twitter background and/or twitter bio section picture explaining  with graphics : ”This is ME (IAN H Watkins) but This is the man you want (the other person) there was a mix up its been sorted as you read this. Thank you for all you support in this difficult situation.”

The Middle Name Changer
The inclusion of  Ian’s middle initial is certainly a move I would have recommended immediately, as it instantly differentiates in this case  as ”Ian H Watkins” although this may not work in every case as it is very dependent on the situation but in this case it did.

The Twitter and Facebook Public Service Announcement Bio
Both Ian H and the Peterborough business man who got mixed up with the situation used their Twitter Bios to get the point across but it seems not many of the Twitter users wanted to know, at first some even said to Ian the businessman he was dodging responsibility. However, credit to ‘Ian the businessman” he had some very witty comebacks and handled the situation with a lot of calm and grace (running a business in a recession can teach that to you). Had both Ian’s known to use the middle name changer, the PSA Wall paper/background, twitter bio section picture and the Twitter PSA Bio they may have had less headache on Twitter.

The Public Service Announcement Video
This isn’t a PSA video in the sense of a TV ad campaign but more of a use your smartphone to make a short explainer of the situation,  similar to what was said visually in the PSA Wall Paper. You would then upload this video to all social media platforms you are on especially where the most heat is, in this case Twitter.

You could even as part of the PSA Wall paper include the image of the ”see video to understand more”. Now this video would have been the most recent media file uploaded on Twitter so it would come up as the first thing on the left in the photos and video section. What would then occur is people now can see the wall paper, the bio section picture, the bio the video and things begin to clear and the fans/followers who know whats happened can also help by explaining to the other fans or twitter users whats going on and you’ve created the tools to help them fight for you be it by re-tweeting or re-sharing  ”see the video”, ”see the bio”, or ”see the wallpaper” etc. so the situation is tackled from all angles.

So when people did type in H’s twitter handle in to the twitter search bar all the PSA information we just created  would have come up to inform searchers of what is going on and then probably go back to google  ”Ian H Watkins” and then realise the mistake.

The Photo Assets
Now the most important step that could have been taken in this situation would have been to start building personal photo assets for ”Ian H Watkins” doing this could have widened the pool of ”Ian H Watkins” pictures to choose from (especially in an online drama situation) as opposed to the other same name bearer and as such may have helped to avoid the algorithm situation(I can’t go into the detail of this process as it would require a whole post on its own plus I wouldn’t want it out in the public for trolls to do with as they please)

However, there’s no way H could have known any of this, its not a situation he’s been in before  and it’s not one anyone wants especially before Christmas, going forward though I would suggest that the photo asset building start as one part of the campaign to clearing and now protecting Ian’s Digital Reputation.

I do  hope that this information can help fix a few things and anyone else who may be in this situation in the future be it a celebrity like Ian H or Ian the businessman.

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