First impressions matter. You never get a second chance at a first impression. Every touchpoint someone has with you (or your brand) can make or break that first impression. As an individual, even if you don’t see yourself as being in the public eye, the Internet sees it differently. In fact, as too many people have learned the hard way, the Internet can ruin a reputation with speed and efficiency. We live with a permanent record of everything we say and do, whether we like it or not, regardless of our say in the matter. Even if you’ve lived a deliberately quiet life to prevent online troubles, you’re not guaranteed a clean personal reputation online. If you’re not filling up digital space with factual content about yourself, someone else could. And trust me, some people dedicate their existence to this kind of work. I’d link to some examples, but I don’t want to give them any currency. And as brutally unfair as it is, even if someone is not deliberately attacking your reputation, someone who shares your name can just as easily ruin it.