How’s your online reputation?
What type of image do you portray online? A perfect one? Are you sure? Do you care?
We all try to manage, maintain, address, alter, manipulate etc… our online image, to display as “perfect” a version of what we think that image should be, as we can.
Come on, admit it, you do that too.
I’ll give you an example…
On your online social media profiles, how many weaknesses do you portray? How many failures do you communicate? How many drunken images at frat parties do you have on your Facebook accoun…
… wait, that last one actually does happen to some people sometimes. 🙂
Seriously though, even academics polish and perfect their achievements… because it would damage their credibility if they showed us the failed experiments, their lack of experience in certain fields etc… right?
We work so hard to communicate correctly , say the right things at the right time, be “politically correct” (who defines that btw?) etc…
We try so hard to be perfect online, we forget two VERY important things:
1. We’re human, and full of faults, mistakes, stress, anxieties, failures, false starts, incorrect thoughts etc…
But. That’s. Not. Bad.
We are human, and that comes with the territory, but can we really express ourselves that way online?
Come on, can we?
Because if we display the wrong image, if we say the wrong thing, if we aren’t always perfectly politically correct… it’s possible that could end up being someone’s legacy online.
Sometimes that has its place, of course, but do we truly want the responsibility of wielding the “internet of justice” in every case? Sometimes, I think the “online standard” for morals, ethics, etc… can be set ridiculously high.
2. We forget our *offline* reputations… which are not perfect, but are (in most cases) even more genuine, because the online “version” is so fragile, so easily accessed.
The offline reputation seems to get forgotten in a sea of blog posts, Tweets, Facebook likes, and Instagram photos.
Now, I’m suggesting that they both be the exact same, that we be allowed to be human online… and not hide behind some perfected “image” we portray.
I’m also suggesting that you value and protect your offline reputation as well, be as good to other people offline as you would online.
We’re all scared, we’re all anxious, we all have made mistakes, we all have faults… and that should just be OK. We are human after all, not robots or online protocols.
Can we truly be human, that is be ourselves, both online and offline? Is it already that way?