Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A thought about building your own professional online reputation

Kate Woods, an Auburn University student in a class project blog, The Loveliest Village, makes a great point about what happens to one's public image when mishaps happen.

We all make mistakes; but being in the spotlight can be tough when a goof occurs. An image of a person can take years to build up, but a mere second can crush it tremendously.

While she is on target about how fragile our reputations are, I also wonder what happens when the mishap is the only reputation you have.

What happens if you are not famous (outside of your physical community) and if you are not known (other than locally) for your professionalism, the good work you do, and your vast knowledge in a particular area when a mistake suddenly throws you into the media limelight or onto YouTube?

All of a sudden you or your organization is known only for mishap--the mistake--the goof.

Although we never want to make mistakes, we might, at some point, publicly misstep. Having built a credible professional reputation will provide something positive to point to in times of crisis.

What is your professional online reputation? What happens when you Google your name? What happens when you Google your organization's name? Where can potential clients find you? While there is much more to building a reputation than using Google searches, start there. 

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