While researching information with a client regarding integration of WordPress and a popular educational, proprietary software package, we were stunned at the number of bad reviews, horror stories, and frustration with using that program – let’s call it ABC.
Finding such negative information about ABC was not our goal. We were looking for technical articles and had to wade through post titles like Overcoming ABC Frustrations, If You Want Technical Support Don’t Ask ABC, Why Teachers Hate ABC, When ABC is More Trouble Than Your Students, The Battle to Convince the School Board to Not Use ABC, Why We Hate ABC, and so on.
Frustrated with using the program herself, my client was stunned by the number of public complaints and negative rants. Stepping back to reconsider, she finally said, “Let’s change our parameters. Let’s research if WordPress integrates with a similar program, one without the bad reputation.” Once she returned to her office, she would put my project to develop a proposal to stop using this very costly program for her university and transition the school to a better program.
All because of an unrelated simple keyword search, ABC would lose over a hundred thousand dollars a year from this university now convinced that this isn’t the way to go.
While this huge economic decision was influenced by search engine results, results which may not truly reflect the quality and integrity of the program, online reputations are made and broken by what people uncover through their searches. Are you paying attention to your online reputation for your blog, business, and life?
What Can Be Found on the Web About You and Your Blog?
What can people uncover about your, your blog, or your business when they hit the search engines? Sometimes you have to type in specific words to turn up specific topics, but when a general, unrelated search brings in more bad news than good, there is a message there worth investigating.
Who searches for your online reputation? Potential clients, employers, friends, family, and anyone you’ve had contact with can search for information about you on the web. More importantly, people often make value judgments from information gained from unrelated searches that turn up bits and pieces of information that can sway an opinion on a subject, company, or person.
In Do You Monitor Your Online Reputation, I covered ways of researching your online reputation, but I want you to think about it consciously starting today. Everything you do online is recorded and stored. Everything. The things you do when you are 12 and discovering the magic of IM chats and the Internet, and things you do online when you are 40 and looking to move into a new career or business.
For the next two, three, maybe even ten generations or more, Big Brother is not just the government watching and recording everything we do. We are the modern Big Brother. Watching a CSI rerun recently, the detective asked another policeman to confiscate all cell phones from the crowd standing around a car accident. The cop refused, arguing that no one would turn over their cell phones. The other man called to the crowd, “If you have taken any photographs or videos of the accident, the first ones to turn them over to this officer will get their video featured on the eleven o’clock news.” Dozens of cell phones and cameras were handed over from the crowd. Cell phone cameras are everywhere, recording big events and day-to-day events all the time, and most of these are uploaded to the web, preserved for all time.
Our blogs tell our stories, sometimes becoming a diary where we share more than we should. Our comments are mini resumes, often telling the world a lot about who we are and how we think. You can delete the post, comment, or even the blog, but somewhere, there is a record of that content, just waiting to be uncovered.
Blog and use the Internet wisely. The world is searching and paying attention. What you publish publicly is your new resume. Let it speak well of you.
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