I’ve been thinking a lot about where we’re all going to be in several years after we have posted to all our blogs, tweeted our way to a fare-thee-well, left comments, posted pictures and done all of the things we think of as commonplace in today’s world. I am around more and more students and I try to think about their futures, even if sometimes they don’t! Job seekers, those coming out of school or those trying to reposition themselves in our slowly recovering world economy, are also in my thoughts.
The trouble with living your life on the internet is that sometimes you wish you could take things back, just like in real life. The mistakes you make, the pictures you take, the things you say- they can become permanent digital artifacts. It’s easy to leave tracks, but tough to cover them. Five or ten years ago, if you did something dumb at a party, it wouldn’t end up on the Internet for all to see. (I’m looking at you, Michael Phelps!)
This is why I think online reputation management will become such a growth industry in the coming years. Social media is so new, we’re all figuring it out in real time. There is no history to guide us and, let’s face it, we don’t always exercise perfect discretion in life. The reputation management business is not new, but it mostly focuses on institutions, brands and larger entities. (Here’s a good link to John Jantsch’s blog.) I see more companies, widgets, programs and other solutions popping up to help individuals as we move forward.
What do you think? Is this a service you would pay for? (You don’t have to get too specific about WHY you might use such a service…) What are your thoughts? Please post a comment.