When I was growing up, we wanted to avoid being someone with a “reputation.” Today, we want a reputation, but we need it to be positive. However, maintaining one’s reputation is getting harder and harder. As social media and social networking sites continue to flourish, the power of the individual voice is growing greatly. We have to protect our reputations, and have someone (it’s probably you) that is fully in charge of managing our online reputation. It may seem insignificant now, but new things on the horizon will make this a part of any businessperson’s life.
According to an article in The New York Times Magazine, “The End of Forgetting,” by Jeffrey Rosen (Sunday, July 25, 2010), in the near future, people will be rated on reputation (trustworthy, good parent, good insurance risk, etc), similar to the credit report rating services of today.
There are services now that can aggregate information about people from the Internet and social networks. Not your private information like social security or credit card information, but information that is readily available: the movies you like, books you read, search terms you use, blog posts you write, videos you post/watch on YouTube, and people you follow. These reputation and trustworthy ratings could eventually be used to determine employability and other factors. And it can be incredibly positive or incredibly detrimental to your career.
There are services that can help. Check out Reputation Defender or other similar consulting services that, for a fee, will monitor your online reputation and help you remove inaccuracies, etc.
Although no one (absolutely no one!) is perfect, it may be best to keep the imperfections away from the web. Is what’s out there about you having an impact on your business?