Let me begin by saying I have some good news and some bad news about the Internet. If you’re anything like me, I like to hear the bad news first. So here it goes…
Bad News – Just like a huge, ugly, misspelled tattoo across your back is there to stay and for everybody to see, anything that you post online goes on your digital permanent record.
Are we, as a society, conditioned to believe that everything on the Internet is private and secure? Just because we have the ability to adjust our privacy settings on Google or Facebook, does that mean that our personal information is kept under wraps, only available to our closest friends and family members? Absolutely not.
Next time you post a picture, update your Twitter or Facebook status, or even send an email, remember that the Internet is not as forgiving as your friends. It records everything and forgets nothing. You might be tempted to lash out in a public forum regarding a personal or business issue close to your heart, but it is imperative that you think of the long-term ramifications prior to submitting your comments online. The damage that a disgraceful, unjustified, or unwarranted post can do to your online reputation can easily mean the close of your business and the end of your career.
You might remember a case years ago of an aspiring teacher, 25-year old Stacy Snyder, who posted a picture of herself in a pirate outfit with an alcoholic beverage in hand. When she was denied her teaching degree days before her scheduled graduation due to this incident, she was confronted with the reality that the permanence of the Internet means that there are no second chances.
More than 30 Billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook each and every month. In addition, the Library of Congress has archived all Twitter status updates since 2006. Need I say more?
Everything you post online is available for anyone to see. If you don’t want your post tattooed on your reputation for life, just think twice before you submit something questionable.
Now that I’ve exposed the perils of the digital age, it’s time to switch gears and discuss how you can use the Internet to your advantage.
Good News – Anything that you post online goes on your digital permanent record
Sound familiar? I certainly hope so.
Just as an online publication can come back to haunt you for months or years after the fact, it can also serve to boost your online reputation for months or years to come.
Think about the number of artists, novelists, and musicians out there who continue to reap the benefits and revenues from their work that was first featured, published, or released years ago on the Internet. The viral capabilities of the Internet enable more and more people to be exposed to the work of these contributors, earning more fans by the day. As long as the content that is published is noteworthy and indispensable, it has potential to be shared across the world and get noticed for a long time after the initial publication.
You have the potential to build a positive brand identity given the proper tools and resources at your disposal. Start with a blog as a method of generating exposure and luring targeted traffic to your website. Why Write a Blog? What are the Benefits of a Business Blog?
Once you have started a blog that provides readers with valuable content relating to your business or you have a special offer or promotion that needs traction online, you can share your content via email marketing – one of the most cost-effective and revenue-generating marketing platforms available. The appeal of email marketing is that you can craft and personalize your message any which way you see fit in an effort to capture viewer attention and drive traffic to your website. The social sharing buttons and the “forward to a friend” feature of email marketing enables your content to sell itself, and the dividends will be received long after the campaign is finished.
So what will it be?
Will you act in the heat of the moment and go for for the huge, nasty, misspelled tattoo in your drunken stupor and publish something online that will only serve the purposes of self-destruction, or will you take advantage of this viral medium and spread your valuable message to the masses?
You must earn your reputation online. How will you make a mark on the world? What will you leave behind?