Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tech Republic takes on "online reputation" and the I.T. workplace


Tech Republic has taken on the topic of online reputation, with a blog entry by Jack Wallen, “five tools to monitor and manage your online reputation”, link here  (also available as a podcast).
I was not aware that monitoring by Reputation.com was “free” (mine comes with AOL), but the “repair” service can be pricey.

Naymz has a free trial, and was marketed heavily to college students.   “Who’s Talkin’?” emulates a service available from Google, “Me on the Web”, (my main blog, March 19, 2012).

The first signs that employers occasionally noticed off-duty online behavior occurred in 1999, when a nurse in Arizona was fired for appearing (with her husband) in porn, and a similar fate awaited a teacher in Florida.  But “online reputation” as a controversy that we know today, didn’t take off as a topic until about the beginning of 2006, after Myspace had been around for a while and Facebook was just on the radar screen.

As far back as Feb. 12, 2006, Mary Ellen Slayter offered a Sunday morning missive in the Washington Post, “Maintaining an Online Profile – and Your Professionalism”, link here.

Until social media came along, employers had accepted the idea of a “double life” and were mainly forced on online behavior with corporate resources.  With social media, they were suddenly confronted with the idea that personal reputations of associates (especially those sent to client sites) could affect business bottom line more directly.

I came into this issue from a different angle, “conflict of interest”.  In the mid 1990s, I was authoring a book on gays in the military while working for a company that worked heavily with military member customers.  I did a corporate transfer in 1997 to relieve the potential problem, somewhat under the table, just as my online presence was taking shape.   And then, as a substitute teacher, I would fall into a major controversy about my own website in late 2005. 

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