Now, we all care about our reputations, yeah? I see Kanye shaking his head in the back, there. Okay, still, it’s fair to say most of us do. This matters offline, of course, but online it becomes even more crucial, both for future employment and overall personal esteem reasons. Why? Because anything written, posted, stated, or recorded pertaining to you, your character, your actions, real or even faked, stays online for all time.
This is true whether you are a naked royal or a frat boy at a kegger. Of course, we generally get to hear only the high profile celebrity versions, such as Prince Harry’s recent shenanigans, Lance Armstrong’s alleged doping troubles, U.S. politicians making strange comments about rape, and a Canadian politician running for office despite facing charges of sexual exploitation of a child.
This article not only points out what ought to be obvious to us all (and we love the handy little phrase “the letter ‘e’ in the word email stands for ‘evidence'”), but provides a list of ways in which we can protect our reputations online, which I will quote in full:
- Reflect on your personal values and confirm what you will and will not do. Clearly develop a line in the sand and stick to it no matter what the temptations or what your friends are doing. Be consistent in applying your values so that people can gain trust in how you would manage a situation.
- Make your decisions with consideration of an imaginary figure sitting on your shoulder. If this was your mother, what would she say about your behaviour? If this was your child, what legacy would they want to remember you by? If this was your spouse/partner, what would they think?
- Think beyond yourself and reach out to touch the public eye; how could your behaviour be perceived by others? What damage could this cause? Would it be detrimental to your career? Your family? Yourself?
- Edit your online social-media photos and content rigorously; contact anyone who has placed a photo of you on their website without permission and confirm or deny your authorization.
- Be extra-careful of what you say in emails, on Twitter and on your social-media pages. This too, can be taken out of context, forwarded to others and misused.
- Be scrupulously honest and truthful in everything you do. (Courtesy, Barbara Bowes)
Okay, a little idealistic, perhaps, but the point stands.
Now, it’s also worth remembering that it’s not just your reputation you need to consider. Even more vulnerable than you are your kids. Imagine growing up to find embarrassing videos of you all over the internet… and it was your own parents who uploaded them? Such eventualities need to be kept in mind even when we find our distraught kids so adorably cute right after they’ve watched an upsetting movie and reacted accordingly. I know, we do have a sense of humour here at SOLOS, and on one level, this is funny in an “aw, bless” kind of way, but imagine being those poor kids when they hit a certain age and someone digs this up? Not cool.
So, really quick, there are of course services which help restore your good name and character, and although we don’t endorse any specific one, you can Google “reputation repair services” and you will discover numerous services that will help… although, once again, beware of scams!