Thursday, March 3, 2011

Managing your reputation

Why bother? Some are shocked by the hints of Runaway Jury in real life after recent reports in the Wall Street Journal that "Facebook is increasingly being used in courts to decide who is—and who isn't—suitable to serve on a jury." The article explains that TV viewing, hobbies, religious affiliation, photos and other clues as to a juror's values help lawyers decide which jurors they prefer to have hearing the case.

But we shouldn't be surprised: after all, 'nothing' gets deleted once it's on the Internet. And a generation brought up from birth to assume that every grandma's handbag contains at least one mobile phone, and everyone publishes photos and personal musings constantly finds nothing strange.

Instead of fretting, take control: there's a growing industry in people advising others to become the "CEO of you" and that includes each of us learning to become our own Marketing Officer. Simply put, it's not enough now to know how to type on a keyboard, use a mouse, or send an SMS... We each of us have to think strategically through how we wish the world to perceive us.
  • Start by entering your own name (in "quotes") in Google to see what comes up.
  • Learn how to use the Privacy settings in the social media publishing tools that you have.
  • Be thoughtful about what you publish, when, how and to whom.
  • Think about buying your own domain name and becoming active in your personal brand management.
Should we be comforted that not all is out of control? The Maryland State DPSCS has (briefly) stopped demanding the login password from job interview candidates after a public outcry. But the practice is currently only suspended for 45 days and it's hard to imagine someone in a job interview deciding not to 'voluntarily' hand over their login information!
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