Monday, August 16, 2010

Protect Your Rep

For those of us who blog, twitter, or spend any time on any form of social media, we must always be mindful of the reputation we are building – and we build it whether we are purposefully attempting to promote ourselves or not. It is a precious thing. And it is fragile. In the words of Warren Buffett: It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. Think about that, you’ll do things differently.

So, how do we safeguard our reputation?

Always be positive. Positivity is attractive. Who wants to hang out with a complainer all the time? You will gain respect and followers when you are positive.

Be helpful. We tend to remember those who make themselves available in a helpful and encouraging way. And we often want to respond in like.

Avoid controversies. Some might think that even bad press is good press, but this is a dangerous game to play. More often than not it will backfire in your face and you may never be able to recover.

Don’t do the burn. Remember what our mums used to say to us: If you can’t say anything nice about a person, don’t say anything at all. I recently read a blog post which listed a whole string of a successful author’s failed sentences. As amusing as some might find this, it opened up a world of trouble for the writer of the blog. Because she burned someone, the readers felt it was then okay to burn her. It wasn’t pretty.

Grow a thick skin. Sometimes no matter how careful you are or how respectful you try to be towards others, someone will find something negative to say about you. If this happens I think it is crucial not to react back in a similar way. There is no justification for being unkind and you’ll end up looking worse than your attacker.

What are some things you do to protect your reputation? Do you even feel it needs protecting?

24 comments:

  1. I recently talked with a good friend about online "writing" reputation and the front people put forward being important. There's alot to consider when writing and protecting your rep, being honest is one thing I do, I make sure my research is done. If my fellow peers can't believe what I'm telling them, then why would they stick around to read it?

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  2. Good advice! I always try to avoid controversy. Sometimes I complain about queries....but I'm good most of the time!

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  3. Lynda this is so true. I alwasy try to stay positive in my blog. There's just no reason not to. You just wind up looking silly and bitter if you post a lot of negative things out there.

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  4. Excellent advice. Building and then maintaining a good reputation is important in all walks of life!

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  5. Summer, honesty and proper research is another great tip :)

    Aubrie, I think we all sometimes complain about queries. It's allowed ;)

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  6. Melissa, I think it's easier to stay positive in blogs because we have to think about our posts before we post them. But in something like Twitter where it's all so instant and short, we can sometimes forget.

    Jemi, that's so true. In all walks of life :)

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  7. i think the avoid controversy and grow a thick skin bits are interesting when you put them together...
    i don't think we should just press our lips together and not say anything when there are things we believe in...
    and you will offend someone anytime you are very passionate about something (but actively seeking to be controversial is unwise and unneccessary.)
    usually, i think if you keep an open mind and are respectful of everyone, you don't have to only stick to the "safe" subjects.
    but then i could be wrong about that- i'm wrong alot. :)

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  8. Excellent points! Really, who wants to hang out with a complainer all the time? I like positive blogs. And I definitely remember those who have reached out and helped me in some way - it's so appreciated!

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  9. I agree with this a *MILLION* percent! I titled my blog "smile feel good pass it on" and it is a reminder that when I post that I must make people smile, feel good and WANT to pass it on!!!

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  10. Reputations on line are so important. I think the hardest problem I'm having is keeping in touch with all of my blog buddies. There are so many of them and having a full-time job along with writing, family time and then blog time it really makes me sort out what's important.

    I try to make sure I remain entertaining, my posts aren't to incredibly long and people learn things.

    Great post!

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  11. Oh, there are those sour apples out there. I'm grateful they're not so common as decent folks. I decided that sour grapes is someone imposing their issues on me and has nothing to do with me. Helps me ignore stuff I should not be paying much attention to. Constructive feedback, I'll pay attention, too.

    If you wouldn't want someone doing something to you, don't do it to anyone else.

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  12. this was an amazing post, Lynda. I must admit I follow these five things and pretty much treasure them as my main principles in life.

    The last one - growing a thick skin is the most difficult one, and I don't mean learning not to respond to negative people, but coming to terms in your heart that there are bad people whom you won't change no matter how hard you try.

    It's true that I have a certain reputation around our blogosphere as well and people appreciate and respect me, so I try to use it to help other bloggers, to use my influence in a positive and creative way ...

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  13. Great post and excellent reminders. It only takes one comment or post to ruin your online reputation.

    I hope I do all the things you mention here!

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  14. Vic (aspiring_x), I'm glad you added that. If there is something you strongly believe in then yes, go for it -- but do it with respect as you say and don't expect everyone to agree.

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  15. Susan, so do I. There was one particular person who supported me when I was just setting up and I will always remember that and try to give back as much as I can :)

    Jessica, and I love blogs that make me smile. :)

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  16. Jen, prioritising our time is sometimes difficult when we have so many wonderful online friends. And yes, it's good to keep the posts short. When we have a lot of friends to visit our time becomes precious.

    M Pax, I like your way of dealing with sour grapes. Anything that helps you ignore them is good :)

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  17. Dezmond, tbh I don't think that the negative people are bad people. I think they have no real understanding of the effect their words have on us. They feel safe in their relatively annonymous world, or they are just inexperienced. Perhaps that's a little naive of me? But it helps me to forgive them. (It's still not easy, of course)

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  18. Talli, it's scary how easy it is to lose your online rep. I've seen it happen too many times to others.

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  21. Lynda, I completely agree with everything you have written. I try to avoid whining and grumbling. And try to be positive and helpful in my blogs.

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  22. Excellent advice, Lynda. I should print this out and stick it beside my computer. As for me, I try really hard to stay positive, and if I need to whine, I at least try and do it in a funny, relatable way that won't turn people off. I also try not to tell everybody everything (even though most of the time I want to!)

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  23. Jennifer, that's good advice. Making anything funny and relatable makes a big difference to the way people respond to you.

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