Book Review: The Student’s Guide to an Epic Online Reputation

Isn’t Twitter great?

I’ve been following Wayne Denner on the social media platform for some time because he talks about issues that are relevant to me, not just as a professional in the modern Communications industry, but as a parent of a small person growing up in a digital world. I’ve never met him but he seems like he knows his stuff. Certainly more than I do, although I’ve blogged about online reputation before here and here.

I also love that he has practiced what he preaches - creating an online reputation for himself, using his work on the Web as a sort of practical CV and then created his own busy work schedule as a youth speaker, digital expert and, now, an author!

I should hate him but I enjoy seeing a local girl/guy done good.

It was already on my to-do list to read Wayne’s book so I was excited when he offered me a copy to review  - so excited in fact that I read it in 2 days. OK it’s not War and Peace, but I have a 6 year old so that’s pretty impressive, no?

Entitled “The Student’s Guide to an Epic Online Reputation… and Parents’ Too” the book promises a lot:

“Sound advice on using social media, the Internet and your smartphone for employability and life opportunities.”

Now ordinarily when I see a sweeping claim like this I assume I will end up feeling deflated - this comes from living in a house with a Reiki Practitioner who owns a mini-library of self-help guru-type books! There was also the niggling thought that, working as I do with digital and social media, could I possibly learn anything I didn’t already know?

I’m pleased to report that I was wrong!

What I liked about the book:

  • The general design is quirky and there’s plenty of graphics (I was a visual learner and still use visual reminders in my notes)
  • It’s just the right size (like I said, it’s not War and Peace) and the sections within are short enough to either hold the attention of an internet-ravaged teenage mind or alternatively, if you want to pick it up and read it in short bursts
  • The tone of voice is just right for young people as you would expect from someone with Wayne’s experience as a youth speaker. There are relevant jokes, pop culture references and even the case studies are easily-identifiable for a young person
  • It doesn’t scaremonger. Even as a well-informed parent I can get angsty about the prospect of Snapchat and the likes, but the book leaves you feeling positive and in control rather than paranoid and frightened as though you’ve just read an edition of the Daily Mail
  • Wayne used the term “Back in the day” for which I’m often jeered in work. It made me like him more. Shallow but true.

What I learned:

  • Wayne included lots of useful information that I had already been doing (brownie points to me) including setting up alerts to monitor your online footprint, publishing positive results online (such as my blog) to counteract negative information, locking down and highly editing your social media channels (I don’t have many Facebook friends for a reason)…
  • However Wayne included guidance on things I wasn’t as clued-up on such as non-Google search engines, Linked-In groups, GPS photographic information and some pretty compelling quotes and stats about recruiter-snooping online.
  • I also got some great links to make your own infographic CV and I’ll be having a go at that in the near future!

The fact that the book isn’t exactly for me and I still enjoyed it and took notes from it is a great sign. But I was also able to read it through my Mum’s eyes or my son’s, when he’s a bit older, and I could really appreciate the skill in condensing and Plain-Englishing a lot of the technical jargon into something a person more removed from the internet and the gravity of a “digital tattoo” could digest.

And I wouldn’t assume that a book like this is above any of us ‘in the biz’ as I know a certain local Communications Manager who regularly posts the most inappropriate and bizzare status updates on LinkedIn when they should be on a Facebook so locked down it’s an online high security prison.

So whether you’re curious to test your own knowledge, you want to ease the mind of a parent, or you’re looking at how to broach the topic with a young person, this book is well worth a try!

Buy it online here and say hello to the author on Twitter (@WayneDenner)

*DISCLAIMER: I was offered a copy of this book to review. The copy has since been returned. No payment was made and I am not affiliated in any way with the author. I love books and will gladly take copies for review, but I can’t promise a good review. Unless it’s a good book!