This is all the way wrong…
John Naughton pointed me at this article in Nature about academics managing their online reputation. In a loose sense we all manage our identities, particularly online where it has the possibility of going beyond the current context. But the tale of people employing online reputation management companies made me sigh/smile/rant in equal measure (not a pretty facial contorsion I can tell you).
If you need to _employ_ a company to manage your online identity then you really haven't grasped it at all. It is exactly about connecting with you, and not some media company. Rather like 'white pop reggae' and 'American cheese loaf', 'online reputation management' are three words you never want to see used together.
On the plus side I thought it demonstrated a good case for why academics should engage in social media sooner, rather than later. If you have established a good online network already then people may be more forgiving of an indescretion. It will depend on what it is, for example if I was found guilty of torturing puppies, I wouldn't get much sympathy, but maybe if it was revealed that I had bought my PhD with tokens from cereal packets then that doesn't really impact on any value I may have provided online (I didn't – it was tokens from biscuits). In social media you establish your own currency and value, and that is hard to fake or buy, so people will value that, or at least weight it against, other reputation damage.