The Art of AVOIDING reputation manglement

How to mangle yourself onlineMorning!

Oh, what a wonderfully exciting, thrilling, nail-biting Saturday night I had!!  You’ll never believe this (hope you’re sitting down) but….I……actually SLEPT (yes!  I rock!) SLEPT for more than 10 hours!!!!!!!

As my mother would say, Excitement….thy name is my daughter.  🙂

But I digress.  🙂

A few days ago, I wrote The Law of Pro-action IN Action – When people denigrate you, here’s how to respond and followed it up today at my entrepreneurial blog with 19+ Online reputation management super destinations and easy tips

Today, I’d like to focus on Reputation Manglement, otherwise known as

Jeepers, that foot is tasty!  Let me stick it in my mouth!

Now, gentle reader, I’d like to ask you to sit down, close your eyes (well, close your eyes AFTER you’ve read the next instructions) and say to yourself:

The Internet Is Eternal!

Got that?  Okay, next, repeat to yourself:

There is NO privacy online!

Done yet?  Next, internalize:

Once posted online, my words are FOREVER out of my control!

Whew!  You can open your eyes now.  Wasn’t that a great exercise?   Especially realizing that last line….

Once posted online, my words are FOREVER out of my control!

Honestly, the above is more true than the statement: For each and every mopped kitchen floor, grubby feet will track on it 437 indelible sticky footprints within 3.8 nanoseconds of encountering it.

Thus, this post isn’t about managing your reputation online…instead, it’s about how you can avoid mangling it yourself to the point of wishing computers were as operational as an antique Betamax.

So!  Are you waiting breathlessly to learn how you can create a barren wasteland where your once sterling reputation abounded?

It’s easy!  Just add water and consider:

The easiest way you can achieve torching your online reputation is to respond WITHOUT calm, rational thinking.

Think about it.  Perhaps someone has trashed you or your services on the Internet.  What’s easier than to indulge in a knee-jerk reaction and call into question the attacker’s intellect or profitablity or facial characteristics or weight or height or passion for elephants or knowledge of the DMCA or …. get the idea?

The thing is, though, once you’ve posted something online….not only will it reside on those websites, BUT dozens if not hundreds of ‘scrapers’ (autobots that scrape content to build advertising sites) will rip the sentences and repost them elsewhere for all to see.

A good thing this is NOT…especially if you regret your words after the emotions have died down.

So what do you do?

You think.

Ask yourself the 3 following questions:

  • "Did I drop the ball?"  I’ve done that myself in the past; let email slip thru the cracks, failed to answer the phone (as an fyi, I hate the phone and never do answer it – email is best), etc.   It happens.  If you’re guilty of whatever is said, the best thing to do is respond, I’m sorry for my lack…but I would have appreciated you contacting me FIRST offline to resolve the issue.
  • "Is what’s being said true?"  Again, this is difficult to answer honestly.  We all get into modes and ruts in which our performance is sub-optimal  If this is the case, admit where you went wrong and repatch the bridge.
  • "Is what’s being said totally UNTRUE?"  Here’s where winning the battle in favor of losing the war and going down in a blazing meteor of non-glory threatens you the most.  It’s SOOOO tempting to give into the Dark Side of the Force and unleash all of your creatively devastating verbal responses! 

Resist, resist!  If you feel you cannot respond calmly and dispassionately, call your friends’ attention to the postings…and let them defend you online if necessary. 

If you can answer comments with style and flair, however, then calmly post a rebuttal that is devoid of emotion but presents solely the facts. 

Remember….It takes a lot of self-confidence and courage to admit when one is wrong. 

One nifty way to keep yourself in check is to remember universal laws of Netiquette.  To wit:

Human nature being what is has been ever since "Og the Big Buff Caveman With No Life" maliciously hid the spears of  "Bork the Smart Small Caveman Who Weighed 98 Pounds" and scribbled on the cave wall "Bork Is A Luzer!", many people online took advantage of their anonymity and wrote in ways that would make the Hells Angels bikers blush or Jaws to swim away in shame.

This activity, worthy of beating up small children or other defenseless folk, is called ‘flaming’.  Heck, back then the newsgroup alt.flame was created….this was where you were supposed to take all nasty, profane-laden panty-twisting verbal battles (so as NOT to clog up the original newsgroup).

To this day, I fail to see the pleasure people get by buffing up their own egos via hurting others. 

But the fact remains, there are more ego-craving losers online than at a Psychotic singles bar on Friday evening…and you can’t wish them away…..MORE….

The above snippet was taken from the post Mastering the ART of Netiquette (Internet blogging etiquette and more) and includes:

  • >> Netiquette Tip 10: Politeness costs nothing but delivers big.
  • >> Netiquette Tip 9: Satisfy your ego by MAKING achievements and NOT DEGRADING those who do (ie, don’t be a meanie!).
  • >> Netiquette Tip 8: Sit on your hands .
  • >> Netiquette Tip 7: Take BACK your own power .
  • >> Netiquette Tip 6: Remember the Internet is Timeless .
  • >> Netiquette Tip 5: Treat others as you’d like to be treated yourself .
  • >> Netiquette Tip 4: Be wary about the CC button.
  • >> Netiquette Tip 3: Be gracious.
  • >> Netiquette Tip 2: Be Proactive.
  • >> Netiquette Tip 1: Remember….Your family is reading this as we speak (type?  Interact?  Commune?)

I’d like to close this article with the following proactive insight.  You cannot control (you really can’t!) what’s said online about you….but you CAN tap into the power of your network and friends and address the issues that were brought to light. 

For all you know…your brand might emerge stronger than ever…depending upon how you handle the situation.  The ball truly is in your court – play the best game of your life with it.


Barbara Ling

ps – speaking about building up a good reputation:


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