Transparency and the World as an Ostrich
Online spin control
There’s an interesting ongoing debate on news sites around the Web about what the digital natives are doing to their reputations and future job prospects with all this public blogging and social networking. At first glance I thought this USATODAY column was just another commentary about how doomed teen social networkers’ reputations are. Then I got to the part with some good advice (maybe I’m just biased because it’s like what I’ve been saying). USATODAY’s
Andrew Kantor writes, “It pays to go on the offensive and take some control over what people see about you online.” Toward the end he concludes that “if you’re a small business [sub in “a person”], even if you don’t need a website, you need a website. Otherwise your reputation is completely in the hands of anyone who wants to write about you online, good or bad. When a comment about you on a small blog is the first thing people see when they search for you, you need to spend some time on your cred.” Tell this to your kids and have them read “Overexposed teen,” a compelling example. Kantor’s bottom line: “Businesses and individuals need to be proactive when it comes to their reputations.” See also a commentary from the Wall Street Journal’s Jason Fry, linked to in “Growing up in public,” looking at whether today’s online youth really will “pay the price for youthful indiscretions.”
Wow. It’s funny how quickly this argument has erupted again. I was blogging about this about three weeks ago in regards to a “potential” hire whom I nixed (despite the “fanfare” around his “knowledge”). If someone can find your personal journal within TWO CLICKS of a web browsing, you’re in trouble. ESPECIALLY if you’ve “friended” a business through myspace/bebo/friendster/or Facebook. Silly interconnected youth.
Joi wrote a great article about being Transparent online when working online. I think it’s great. Plus… do you really want that much private information about you online? Yikes. It’s like writing your personal details on a sidewalk somewhere.
Basically– we’re not all Ostriches. If you do something publicly, then stick your head in the sand… the rest of the world CAN see you. If you turn your attention away from some sidewalk you graffiti-ed with your life story… just because it’s not in your eyeline doesn’t mean that it’s not in another’s eyeline.
Be in control of your public life story. 🙂
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