With each passing day political parties and citizens, business leaders and employees, and brands and consumers, have an increasing array of media outlets through which to share and access personal information. As such, it’s more important than ever to own and manage your reputation before another person or institution defines it for you.
This is no simple matter, in substance or execution, as your personal and professional reputation are now blurred by social media. Plus, at any one time your reputation is a multi-faceted entity playing out across many channels making it even more difficult to track and manage. Let’s explore how it lives on four key levels.
1. REPUTATION WITH YOUR FAMILY (Social Media User): Like so many Facebook, Twitter and Google+ users, our relationship with our family and loved ones is on display like never before with your friends, colleagues and invariably strangers.
2. REPUTATION WITH YOUR COMPANY (Social Brand): Whether you are an employee, self-employed or running your own company, the profile of your personal life that your craft across social media has an impact on your professional reputation, your job security, the company’s reputation.
3. REPUTATION WITHIN YOUR COMPANY (Social Employee): Your reputation specific to your role within your company is critical whether you are in leadership, product/service development, customer service or accounting.
4. REPUTATION WITH THE PUBLIC (Social Citizen): As one of millions (in fact, almost a billion) people who volunteer their personal information across multiple channels to then be leveraged by marketers, political institutions and corporations, and by extension, countless strangers, each individual must studiously manage their information they share.
With these four levels in mind, it’s wise to place several filters over the information you share in either a personal or professional capacity:
1. Share content about your personal life (your children, family, friends or personal time) judged not against today’s privacy standards, but factoring in a potentially far greater erosion of privacy and appropriation of data in the future.
2. Consider your personal life an extension of your professional career, quite literally, assuming that everything your share on any channel is visible to your boss, fellow employees, and future employers.
3. Accept that your personal communication across social media and professionally within the company are always liable for exposure and attribution to the company with potentially damaging consequences.
4. Be diligent about monitoring the moving target that are privacy settings and constantly upgrade your personal network settings to reflect your life choices.
Only by applying such filters and constantly monitoring the information you share can you secure ownership of your reputation, personally and professionally, allowing social media to amplify your best self rather than mischaracterize you.
Simon Mainwaring is the founder of We First, a leading brand consultancy that provides purpose-driven strategy, content, and training that empowers companies to lead business, shape culture, and better our world.