With the benefit of planning and taking a long term strategic approach individuals can build a positive reputation for themselves online. I was interviewed by ABC Radio National Future Tense and did a guest lecture at the University of Technology Sydney about this topic recently.
It’s over 12 years since then CEO of Sun Microsystems Scott McNealy told the media “You have zero privacy anyway … Get over it.” Whether he imagined the internet as it is today or not, his point is worth considering today because it’s very hard to participate in online publishing and/or social networks without giving up some or all of your privacy/personal data in return for free access to services like Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Twitter etc.
ABC Radio National Future Tense – Online Reputation Management
It’s called ORM – Online Reputation Management – and as the boundaries between the digital and the real world become more blurred, a growing number of companies are now offering to help you protect and preserve your reputation
Interviewees for the story included: Neerav Bhatt Freelance IT Journalist and blogger, Kate Carruthers
Sydney based digital strategist, Stephen Collins Board member for Electronic Frontiers Australia, Peter Black Senior Law Lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology, Dr Rob Sparrow ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer, Monash University and David Cannell Founder of Online Reputation Management Sydney.)
I recorded about 20 minutes of discussion with the ABC Radio Journalist and the portions of the transcript below were what was broadcast for the story:
Neerav Bhatt: Some people when they post messages on social media, or on their blog, don’t have an internal 7-second delay in their brain saying, ‘Gee, is it really smart to say this? What happens if someone sees it later, can I get in trouble, or do I sound really stupid?’ And you can delete it, or try and delete it later, but the internet doesn’t work that way. I’ve seen people accidentally post things and delete it five minutes later, but by then, that update’s already spread through hundreds of people, or thousands of people, and if Google’s picked it up already, then it’s in there forever.
Desta Itote: One of the attributes of the internet is speed. That of course can be beneficial, but it can also be a negative. An online reputation can be quickly damaged, but IT journalist Neerav Bhatt warns against thinking that a good reputation can be restored or made overnight.
Neerav Bhatt: The problem is most people want to get everything done now. They want to start from nothing and they expect to be ranking highly in Google or popular on Twitter etc. within six weeks. And it doesn’t really work that way. Because it takes time to build up a genuine profile and for people to trust you and know what you’re on about, unless you’ve got a huge profile already, you can’t just parachute in and expect to dominate search results if people put your name into a search engine.
Desta Itote: So it seems that issues around privacy, identity and reputation are intertwined. And as the amount of information we voluntarily upload to the web increases, so too do concerns over how we protect our privacy.
Data collection and online storage are the next big cash cows for companies like Google and Facebook, as they look for new ways to monetise our personal information through data mining.
In fact, the European Union is so concerned about issues of privacy and data collection it’s even considering legislation known as the ‘right to be forgotten’.
Neerav Bhatt again.
Neerav Bhatt: If you want to delete your twitter profile or your Facebook profile or some other website, YouTube channel, etc. you should have the right to say, ‘I want it to be deleted’, and then it disappears from public view, but it should also be deleted from the company archives. So they’re not keeping it, and keeping a profile of you and selling it on to someone else later. At the moment, when you turn off a Facebook profile, it’s basically just hiding it from public view. It still exists in their system. If you came back a year later and said, ‘I wish I could talk to my auntie and uncle who are in a different country, and the only social network they use is Facebook’ and you log in again – magic – your profile’s as it was.
Neerav Bhatt – Who Am I?
I’m a “portfolio worker” – multiple work contracts/industries/companies (Pro-Blogger, Freelance Journalist, Research Librarian, Photographer). Qualifications: UWS B Business (Computing & E-Business) plus UTS Grad Dip (Information Management). I started blogging in 2004 when WordPress 1.0 was released. I had already worked as a Web Designer and SEO consultant.
Try to learn principles as well as specific tools, technologies and software.
“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” – Philosopher Eric Hoffer
Flexibility & Diverse Skills
Careers in the future including online journalism will be a lot more flexible and require a diverse range of skills.
To survive and succeed you’ll need a flexible mind, willingness to try new skills and gain specialist knowledge in more than 1 area so you aren’t caught unprepared by shifts in the economy or workforce.
X Media: Text/Photo/Audio/Video
Bloggers and online journalists are often expected to file text, photos and video all by themselves and very fast. Get the necessary tools and practice so you can quickly create quality stories with them. More info at Modern Journalists Technology Toolkit To Cover Live Events
Build Your Brand & Reputation
“Beat The Drum”. No one will do it for you … stand out from the flock. Register www.yourname.com to create online Hub. Create Linkedin, Twitter, Flickr, Storify, Youtube + Vimeo Channels, Gravatar. Link or embed content from all these on your online Hub site. For branding & SEO try to use the same avatar photo and username on all sites.
Online Hub yourname.com
Setup a WordPress blog on www.yourname.com . Your site has 10 seconds to impress. If it looks abandoned, that reflects badly on you.
Publish content regularly including your best:
- Uni & Media intern work
- Paid Journalism work
- Stories you’ve written out of interest in a topic
Micro, Photo and Video Blogging
Blogging isn’t just about writing articles. It’s also complemented by the quality of your micro, photo and video blogging and how professional they are.