THINK before you post – creating a reputation online

This image is making the rounds of Facebook today. It is interesting to me, because I always tell people to think before they post, tweet, or email. However, I am not entirely sure I agree with it. After all, if we required everything we say or write to be true, helpful, inspiring, necessary and kind, well, no one would communicate very much. The Internet is full of useless stuff. Are cute pictures of cats necessary? Of course not. Are they adorable and stress relieving? Absolutely. At least to me.

Also, true is a relative term, isn’t it? I remember once asking my law students, what is the difference between truth and fact? They didn’t know the answer. I always put it this way. When two children hit each other in the back of the car, and they each insist the other “hit me first,” are they lying? Probably not. They both most likely think they are telling the truth as they remember it. But factually, one or the other had to strike first. So who decides if something is true?

But I digress from my point, and I do have one.

My point is that it is always wise to give serious consideration to what you write before you post. Not because it needs to be each and every one of the things mentioned in the picture, but because what you write on the web, over time, will cause you to develop a reputation on the web. The only control you have over that reputation is how you choose to put yourself out there. So before you post, please do think. Is the post something I want to be related to me? Will I be ashamed later that I wrote it? Will I embarrass my parents? Do I like what my post says about me? If not, well, maybe it would be a good idea to think again before you hit send.

Your Online Reputation

People frequently come to me asking for reputation management on the web. The problem is they normally come to me after they have a serious problem. It is best to have created a positive reputation online in the first place. That way, one attack on you or your firm isn’t the end of the world. You will have already staked out a presence online through your website and social media presence that has shown the online world who you area. One blip won’t be a big deal. If however you have no presence on the web already, then if someone posts something nasty about you, now you have to build a presence just to respond. It is always better to be on the offense and have a good online presence instead of being forced to take the defense when someone attacks you.

So create the reputation, and when you do so, be sure you think about what you want your presence online to be. And please, make sure that reputation actually has something to do with the person you really are. Fake is surprisingly easy to spot on the web.

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