The New Era of Reputation Management

ReputationMy friend and former colleague, Teena, recently commented on her blog, And then….there’s that, about reputation management.This got me thinking about how people and corporations have to manage their images, profiles and reputation in this increased scrutiny of citizen journalism and access to information.

First, it was how much information you wanted to give out for free email programs like Rocketmail and Hotmail mail (am I dating myself here?). Frankly, I put in fake information because I wasn’t sure how my information would be used.

Then it was posting to electronic bulletin boards and email newsletters. At the time, posting was relatively safe, being seen and commented by that specific community. The speed of information transfer wasn’t as easily dispersed through blogs and search engines were just beginning to leverage powerful alogortithms for revealing even the minute detail about you.

With the advent of Google, a person’s postings or online commments could be more easily found. But as PR professionals, we had the ability or time to manage prospective fallout and marketers could still control the message.

Now, blogs, twitter, instant messaging and other real time communications technology enable information – both good and bad – to spread very quickly. We now have hours maybe minutes to respond to what is being said online.

Blogging, FacebookLinkedIn and now people search engines provide us an ability to portray our personalities online. But instead of managing one profile, how do you manage several? A personal profile may convey something that you don’t want to present professionally and vice versa. Your reputation can be managed by you but people can make their opinions about what that means.

I personally don’t feel compelled to manage several profiles. I frankly don’t have the time. I have a LinkedIn profile for professional reasons. I have Facebook only because I wanted to join a friend’s group but I haven’t really added “friends” or posted any photos.

My blog is where I put most of my effort. It allows me to communicate mythoughts on PR and marketing, while transmitting part of my personality. I point my personal email and online profiles to my blog.

Managing an online reputation requires time. In this more transparent world, it’simportant to manage your reputation. You don’t have to create multiple profiles, just one and point back. And from a marketing perspective, your prospective customers/prospects will have insight on who you are before engaging with you.

It’s just marketing 101. If you don’t do it, someone else will.

Resource: When I was with Niehaus Ryan Wong in 1996-1998, I read an article called “A Brand Called You” in Fast Company by Tom Peters.  It is the best article that I recommend for everyone.

6 thoughts on “The New Era of Reputation Management

  • Pingback: Multiple Personalities: Balance Between Personal and Work Identities | PR Meets Marketing

  • April 24, 2008 at 18:26

    Your approach is just one of the ways of using LinkedIn Answers.

    I have found another additional and interesting approach to LinkedIn Answers.

    Every couple of weeks I ask a question about a specific technique in how people become successful. I call them Zale’s Success Stories. I a have asked over 40 questions. I get between 20 and 70 answers each time.

    Questions have included Time Management, Positive Mental Attitude, Coaching, etc.

    And of course one on how LinkedIn helps people succeed.

    The stories can be found at

    I also have a LinkedIn group where I update the people when a new question has been posted in LinkedIn Answers. At the same time I update them with stories that have been posted.

    Take Care

    Zale <- An invite to me adds 1,600,000 people to your linkedin network

    Reply   More from author
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  • September 17, 2007 at 15:07

    I think you may have pointed out something that is a rather fundamental shift in reputation management. I have noted that it is difficult to keep my personal profile and business profile separate. Unless you are willing to go completely pseudononymous, which to me in many ways defeats the purpose, it really is very very difficult if not impossible now to keep ones business and personal reputations distinct. I’m uncomfortable with that at times, but I’m not sure it’s an altogether bad thing.


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