Technology Advancements? Part 2- Your eReputation

With all this snappy technology, things should be so easy. Yet, somehow, it means higher expectations, unknown dangers, and a lot more work. Sounds fair, considering how small the world suddenly got. I mean really, I used to write for the local newspaper, now, I write for the world. And! it's archived, so really, I write for the future. We all do.

It goes a lot further and even pours in to our reputations. I mean let's face. Do you Google your babysitter before leaving her alone with your children? Do you check online for the reputation of a restaurant before venturing out? Do you read book reviews on Goodreads and Amazon before buying?

I had a difference of opinion with a colleague not long ago and we agreed to cool off before we talked again. During our next encounter, it was clear I'd been Googled. I know this because even though I want to be real online, it is only a part of who I am. Yet, I was judged, classed, and shoved down because I... (wait for it.... wait for it... ) because I blog. I know, the horror of it. How could I? Apparently, it's something over dramatics do.

I've been teaching technology classes for teens and we end up discussing some interesting challenges they face, well... that we all face. There is a new type of bullying and a new stress on their lives that other generations didn't live as teens. What can they do when they're walking home from school and someone is making a video that catches the exact moment a gust of wind blows up their skirt unexpectedly? (why is someone making a video you ask?? ... someone is always apparently making a video. They just are. This isn't me being over dramatic or anything.) What can they do when this funny image is shared on social media and goes viral? (why would someone share this you ask??... someone is always apparently sharing a video. They just are, and yes, I am over dramatic.)

We ended up calling it Private meets Public. Because the places where they should be safe and private, like their bedrooms, are now public places. Places where 200 friends can come in (if they let them) and find out that they are doing homework. Where walking home from school becomes a public venue. Where potential bosses can check to find out where they eat. Where angry colleagues can search for things to use against them in their next encounter and curse them: "you.... you blogger you!"

How fast can your reputation be affected? Instantly. (gee, maybe I am over dramatic.) I tested it the other night and put out a post on a social media where I did nothing with it. Nothing. I just put it out there. In twenty minutes, 238 people had seen it. I had one share but had set the privacy settings so no one could share. To get around this, this person went to the link and shared it from there. I couldn't track that share and only found it because someone tagged me in their share of that share (still following?). That initial share is out of my control in some new life being shared with strangers. Of 238 that saw it on my page, only one left a comment and a dozen liked it. Overnight, while I was sleeping that number jumped to over 800 views. I saw it all over being shared. Some were collecting comments for me as if this was their post... How accurate are these tracking numbers? If they're even close to the truth, it's scary, because imagine if I put a little effort behind it at a normal time of day? Imagine if each share saw 800 views overnight! Can you see how fast your name could be bloggered? (still feels like a compliment to me...)

How quick will others class us based on what we post? I can't hold this against my colleague, I do it myself. I unfollowed a blog once because the blogger ditched coworkers in a very vulgar way. Two years later I went back to this site to see if he was still doing this. (his name came up on my twitter sidebar and I was curious, I guess, but point is I took a mental note of his name to avoid being linked to it.) His site was cleaned up, full of useful information on how to use social media properly, there were author interviews and book reviews. I was shocked. I'd classed him as rude and didn't want my name linked to his. Sure he used several swear words, but they were funny in a very over dramatic way. And it's clear this is the intense reputation he is after. I felt bad for having unfollowed him when he was probably having a bad day and made a wrong choice.

Cleaning up our own image isn't that hard to do because people can be very forgiving. But!!!
How do we control what others post about us or link to us? Common sense will prevail, and just like we got used to not listening in on those party-lines (okay maybe not.), we'll learn not to post things that damage the reputation and ruin the lives of others. Right?

And has anyone figured out Google+ yet? Someone told me it was important in building an online presence as it was searchable.  And Google rated posts on it higher... no idea if that's true... if it is, you all see where that might help our reputation... or quickly destroy it. There I go, being over dramatic again.

Are you finding these leaps and bounds in technology a hard adjustment? Is it ruining your life or improving it? Do you do an online check of your reputation regularly? How do others see you? Is your online reputation the same as your off line one? What do you do to maintain a healthy online reputation?

Here are a few links I enjoyed reading and sharing;
7 dangerous aps
8 step clean up for your ereputation
Clean up your online rep
Norton security tips


Richard Hughes said...

I can't say it's ruining my life, but I'm not sure to what degree it's improving my life. Most of the technology is too overwhelming for me to mess with. If it doesn't work really easily, I tend to give up and move on. I tried to join Instagram today, mainly because it deals with photos and looks interesting. It was just too many hoops for me to jump through, so I gave up. I guess it's my old age. I just don't have the patience for it. It's really, as it always has been, a contradictory world we live in. It seems that everything that makes our lives easier also makes it harder.

Tanya Lynne Reimer said...

Well said, Richard. During those social media classes we played a game where you could be on any social media and then were given a scenario and if it helped you with that scenario you got to keep it. The kids ended up grouping social media into groups and tried to always have only one social media per group. It was less to manage and meant they covered more scenarios... means we don't have to be on everything, just on the right things. Well... according to the game.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

I do find the technology daunting at times. I can't figure out Google+ to save my life. I'm on it, but I don't use it. What I notice about the way technology affects me is that I'm always behind in one thing or another, because I don't always have time to blog, and I never seem to get around to postinf book review on Goodreads. On the other hand, Iove the connection to friends, family and other writers both in the blogosphere and on FB. I do feel sorry for today's teens, though. Everything you mention above must be so stressful for them. High School can be such a jungle!