As we know the internet has a long memory. We also know that bad news travels fast, and embarrassing news travels even faster. There is a really dangerous aspect to the internet when both these factors combine to form a perfect storm of shame.
We are only human so inevitably will goof at some point. How can we avoid the worst?
From indiscretions being recorded on Facebook and Flickr, to attack blog posts, to video of us acting or karaoke, there are an infinite way that our stumbles can be caught, recorded, disseminated and dissected online. These powerful tools can be used for good or for evil, and some people prefer to knock and criricize rather than build and create. Every couple of months someone will bring an example to me and ask what we can do to solve it.
Sometimes it is just a case of waiting for it to blow over. While the internet has a long memory, accessing these memories is not always easy or obvious unless you know exactly what you are looking for. On other occasions bigger measures need to be taken.
As just mentioned, we are human therefore fallible. The first thing we all need to remember is this fact. Indeed, I go as far as reminding people. If you are the first person to call attention to your goofs, gaffs and blunders then some of the sting is removed when other people point them out about you or try to use them against you.
When what we have done affects others we need to apologize and own up as swiftly as possible also, because if you do not then someone might thing you are trying to hide (which might well be, but out of shame not guilt). Due to my upbringing I normally have no problem apologizing instinctively – I have pre-emptive guilt ;)
For example only yesterday I unintentionally interrupted Chris Brogan’s talk at a convention so texted him to apologize, thus interrupting him a second time – d’oh!
If something is ranking in the search engines that you would rather not appear for your name, some times you can request for the offending content to be removed, but more likely you will need to create your own content themed around your name to drive it down the search results. Create a YouTube video, blog, squidoo lens, social media profiles, and link them all together.
Lastly, remember that most of the people who will look and laugh are just random folks off the internets, not people who know you personally. And if they do know you, then they will give you the benefit of the doubt because, being a Blog Herald reader, you are obviously attractive, intelligent and know how to rock :)
Any more tips for surviving internet shame? Please share in the comments …