Online Reputations

I’d like to open by saying two things.

  1. Holy crap! There were a LOT of dry statistics in the 47 page article we were assigned this week.
  2. I read ALL of it. (No reading quiz of course. But oh well.)
  3. Numbers aren’t my thing, so keep your expectations for this blog low. (Seriously though. I suck at blogging.)

    Kay. Moving on.

Madden and Smith’s ‘Reputation Management & Social Media’ article was very thorough, and did an excellent job of backing up its theory that Americans are placing more and more value on their online image, different demographics share and regulate their personal information to varying degrees, and Social Media users’ reputations evolve whether or not self-regulation is attempted. Although we know the importance of online reputations are growing quickly, it is hard to say exactly how important they are or how important they will become in the future. Online reputations will likely never replace individual people’s character, but as people’s personal and professional identities become more accessible via internet, it is feasible that your online reputation can (and should) be weighted heavier.

I have a friend that is a police officer, and recently pulled over a  young man on a routine traffic stop. After running his plates and personal information through the state of Texas’ databases, he decided to pull up the guy’s Facebook page. The profile picture that showed up was a marijuana leaf, and his profile completely public. From the information found on his online profile, the officer could tell that the citizen was a recreational drug user and asked the driver if he had any illegal substances in the vehicle. The driver didn’t have a good poker face, and eventually confessed to possessing drugs and paraphernalia. I don’t think he ever found out that his Facebook is what got him arrested and hauled off to jail, but if he did, I’m sure he would have changed a few things on his home page – from privacy settings to what type of information he decided to share.

With internet and social media network users increasing every year, the internet is often replacing the “first impression” – you know, the one you can’t make twice?FirstImpressions

I made the argument in class that social media never sleeps, so your social networking sites could very well be introducing you to multiple people while you’re off playing outside. …Or whatever it is that you do.

Madden and Smith determined that 1 in 4 employed adults work for companies that have policies regarding online behavior. Sometimes just venting to your online following can be enough to get you canned!BossFail

My family has some unspoken policies about online behavior. I’ve been told that when it comes to relationship updates, less is more…Mom_dryspell

Kids have been expelled from Canyon Creek Christian Academy (that’s where I spent 6 years of my life) for pictures less damning that this one.RTVFWeb2

Sometimes an honest mistake can ruin our image! Even if you figure out how to delete the mistake, who knows if it has been screenshot-ed and added to Google Images?SearchBar

(Aaaand that’s definitely not the internet’s fault…)

It seems like as more people begin to share and observe more on the internet, the more careful we all need to be with what we upload. Right now, as Madden and Smith made excessively clear, the usage of the internet to store and share personal information is up across the boards, so internet users that share their lives on the internet need to be increasing the care with which they present themselves.

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One Response to Online Reputations

  1. andyeudy says:

    My dad is a preacher at the church in my hometown. Being a part of a church community, especially in the role of a preacher’s kid, reputation is an important thing to regulate. A lot of people from the congregation are friends with me on Facebook, and I would notice that they tended to be the main people reading and commenting on my page. As I moved to college, and my ideologies started to change, I noticed I was having to censor myself so as to not put my parents in an awkward position at their church. I always worry that if I post something questionable that the congregation will think my parents raised a hellion. I don’t consider myself to be an overly vulgar person, but if I wanted to post a video of my favorite scene from The Office or a song that I wrote, I would have to check the clip thoroughly for anything in it that could even be interpreted as being offensive. This has led to my social activity significantly decreasing over the past four years. I have also been looking to more obscure or newer social media sites to give a better picture of who I am at this point in my life, but at the same time I almost feel as though I’m hiding out. Digital reputation is something that is on my mind more than most people and sometimes I think it stifles creativity.

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