Not so long ago, our personal reputations were one-dimensional; with it, a low-hanging-fruit message that our behavior has a direct external consequence. And only 10 years ago, social media was an ecosystem exclusively for teens and early 20-somethings; a place where no one even considered reputation management.
Within a few years, technology evolved beyond previous recognition, and social media communities became global. Today, there are over a billion Facebook accounts worldwide. Most if not all members of our offline communities are online, too.
It’s commonplace to hear stories about a less-than-stellar employee being fired about lying about a sick day or contradicting company policy by posting scathing opinions on a personal account. We all know by now that our Instagrams may be examined before we are hired or admitted into an academic institution. Put simply, in this day and age, social profiles are an automatic extension of who we are outside the digital environment and must be considered just as carefully, using a mental checklist similar to one we’d complete before an interview or meeting someone for the first time.
The lines have been completely blurred, smudged, and stamped out.
If you have a social media profile, you’re everywhere, all the time. The things you say, the opinions you share, the risk of in-the-moment self-expression; these things are are permanent in some shape or form, whether it be archived search results or a less-than-flattering post seen or shared by others.
Most of the time, there’s nothing to worry about if you have your head on straight. But a think-before-you-post mentally should be adopted. From your language to your photographs to your privacy settings, everything you do on social media can and will have an impact on how you weave your personal story, especially in an age where people see social media as near to or the same as real-life.
I’ve run workshops and presentations on online reputation management, and this is not the only post that will discuss this broad topic. Reputation management extends from your personal profiles to your fan pages, company pages, and across each and every platform. Instead of getting worried, we will get smart.
Have you considered your personal reputation online? Do you think you’re doing enough to manage it now? What is one step you can take this week to make sure you are in control of your profiles?