Quote of the day:
Trying to control, or even manage, your online reputation is becoming increasingly difficult. And much like the fight by big labels against the illegal sharing of music, it will soon become pointless to even try. It’s time we all just give up on the small fights and become more accepting of the indiscretions of our fellow humans. Because the skeletons are coming out of the closet and onto the front porch.
We’ll look back on the good old days when your reputation was really only on the line with eBay via confirmed, actual transactions and LinkedIn, where you can simply reject anyone who leaves bad feedback on your professional life.
Today we have quick fire and semi or completely anonymous attacks on people, brands, businesses and just about everything else. And it is becoming increasingly findable on the search engines. Twitter, Yelp, Facebook, etc. are the new printing presses, and absolutely everyone, even the random wingnuts, have access.
Michael Arrington, Reputation Is Dead: It’s Time To Overlook Our Indiscretions, TechCrunch, March 28, 2010
Essentially, there’s so much information on the Internet, both good and bad, that, at some point, it really isn’t going to matter what you do to protect your online reputation because anyone can say anything about you in any number of places and do it anonymously so there’s not much you can do about it. We’ll just have to adjust to it and after a while, it’ll be irrelevant anyway. So what if there’s a picture of you naked, drunken, toking a doobie, or whatever? Anyone could have taken it with a small digital camera or a cell phone. Or they could just download any old picture of you and as manipulate it with Photoshop. You have absolutely no control over information about you on the Internet.
As part of that adjustment, we have to figure out ways to determine which online sources we can trust. We should be doing that anyway. As my friend Charlie always said, “Don’t believe anything you hear and only half of what you see.” Damned good advice, if you ask me.
Unfortunately, few people, employers, potential employers, etc., will bother to take the source into account, verify the information, or even ask you about it. They’ll just accept anything they read as the gospel truth and come to the conclusion, probably wrongly, that you’re a scumbag, unworthy of their friendship, sponsorship, or employment. It sucks, doesn’t it?