That said, regardless of what our leaders (I use that term advisedly) do, or don't do, we are still -- and always will be -- the ultimate guardians of our reputations and our identities. They are assets that are just as valuable, perhaps even more so, than our homes, our stocks and our bonds. We must build, nurture, manage and protect them with the same skill and vigilance that we demand of the professional money managers who run our investment portfolios, as I wrote about here. Our online personas are part of that basket of assets that must be intelligently managed so as not to put ourselves or our families at risk, even after we die.
Just as every adult should have a will detailing the distribution of their assets upon death, every will should include a section regarding the disposition of one's online accounts. Do you want your Facebook profile shut down, or left in place? Do you want your Twitter feed shut off, or have you gained such a following and a track record of funny, insightful tweets that a trusted work colleague might well continue tweeting in your stead?
The bottom line -- don't wait for or delegate to Facebook or the government the protection of your reputation, they have neither the urgency nor the stake you do.
Adam Levin is chairman and cofounder of Credit.com and Identity Theft 911. His experience as former director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs gives him unique insight into consumer privacy, legislation and financial advocacy. He is a nationally recognized expert on identity theft and credit.