2010: The year of Atomic Branding

Even more so, 2010 is the year when individuals will yearn for online privacy

* Jennifer Leggio is on vacation

Guest editorial by Michael Fertik, ReputationDefender

2010 will see the arrival of what we can call Atomic Branding.   Thought leader predictions tend toward the conclusion that we will see a personal brand renaissance in 2010.  But let's expand that.  Atomic Branding is a concept that captures the many-layered and concentric-circled features of human brands.

You have a personal brand.  You have a professional brand.  Your family has a brand.  Your neighborhood has a brand.  Your small business has a brand.  And all of them are tightly connected.  At its most atomic level, atomic branding starts at the unit of the individual human.

I predict that 2010 is the year of Atomic Branding and the "business of one" -- the birth of and focus on the individual's personal and professional brand in the world -- that will require a new type of digital promotion, control, and security.  Individuals will yearn for online privacy, something that is under increasing threat as social media sites gather and publish more detail about us every day.  We will all need to manage our online reputations.

Here are my Top Ten Social Media Predictions for 2010:

1) Resumes will become obsolete: Job seekers will be evaluated in part as brands who live online, rather than as bullet points on a page.  Hiring managers will rely little on submitted resumes and will instead Google their candidates, expecting to find a solid Web history that includes a LinkedIn profile showing work history, accomplishments, references and networks.

2) 100% of hiring managers, universities and potential dates will use search to evaluate candidates. 100% of them will choose, at least once, not to hire, accept or go out with someone due to negative search results.

3) Teens will have an average of 2.5 social profiles--with distinctive usernames and even real/fake names--and adults will have 1.25.

4) Social network privacy settings will be 90% ineffective: Recent changes to social networks' "privacy" settings are the most significant contribution to digital security since warrantless wiretapping.

5) Spam will represent 30% of all social media communications: People will continue to receive tweets and messages from people in their social networks that carry a virus, encouraging them to open a bank account in Vladivostok.  Security for social media sites isn't strong enough yet

6) 2010 is the year of the online reputation score.  The death knell has sounded on old-school credit scoring, which is seen as both data poor and outdated.  The race for the new, more useful score is on.

7) Social media will start and propagate at least five major rumors about politics, arts, finance, or sports that old media will report as real news before realizing they got hoaxed.

8) The rise of teen suicides from cyber bullying will become a major nationwide news discussion.

9) At least 1 Fortune 1000 CEO and one member of Congress will resign due to a social media controversy. 10) Celebrities will stop using Twitter: Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, and Miley Cyrus have already leapt off the Twitter bandwagon.

Michael Fertik is the CEO and founder of ReputationDefender.  A repeat Internet entrepreneur with experience in technology and law, Michael founded ReputationDefender in 2006 with the belief that citizens have the right to control and protect their online reputation.

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