As I was wondering what to write as my first post on the HRreview blog, I started thinking about blogging and the internet in general. And that’s given me my first topic – what does it say about you on the internet?

Employers need to be aware of their online reputation and presence. Is your website up to date? Does it do what you need it to do? Has anybody written anything about you on the numerous review sites on the web? If you put your company name into google, what comes up? And if you put your competitors names into google? What do you see then?

Some companies encourage customers to write reviews of their products and services online. Often customers will do so without prompting, so it is worth keeping an eye on any main review sites (such as yelp.com ) or forums or sites particular to your sector.

If you do encourage reviews, it is best that they are honest. A ‘fake’ good review can cause as much damage as a ‘real’ bad review, because people will lose trust in you. If your reviews are seen as ‘false’ they may not trust anything good they see written or hear about you. And if there is a bad review, you can always think about contacting the customer and trying to fix any problem.

For employees, the situation can be even more complex.

Social networking sites and personal blogs often include information you might be wary of your colleagues or potential new employer knowing about. Putting forward forthright comments on your job, or colleagues could be a breach of confidentiality clauses in your employment contract, or the general duty of implied trust and confidence. If your online actions bring your employer into disrepute, breach confidentiality or discriminate or harass others in your workplace you might face disciplinary action and could even lose your job. And in certain situations, your employer could end up being sued because of something you’ve written.

There is now a slang term for being sacked because of your website or weblog – being ‘dooced’. It comes from dooce.com, the blog of Heather Armstrong, who was sacked because her employer didn’t like what she wrote. You can see her blog at www.dooce.com. And while you’re online, run that google search on yourself and your company. You might be surprised what you find out….