In the tech-savvy world of today, being connected in the world of social media is a double-edged sword. There are many personal and business benefits to be gained from operating online, such as nigh instantaneous connectivity and broad reach, connecting people with old friends and new and bringing businesses to new customer markets quickly and cheaply. But these same benefits could quickly turn on the unsuspecting user.
Negative reviews from irate customers and one’s own verbal slip ups could snowball with disastrous consequences on one’s reputation both online and offline. The very mechanisms that make the Internet an ideal place to spread marketing and brand awareness are also what make perceived flaws, however minor or inconsequential, to spread far and wide.
Online reputation management has become an essential tool in preventing this from happening. Though primarily associated with adults, the practice appears to be gaining popularity among teenagers, who have taken rudimentary steps in managing their online personas.
Sue Scheff of the Huffington Post notes that, in addition to heeding the advice of parents and teachers to keep their profiles clean, teens are taking online reputation management more seriously, deleting incriminating or regretful statuses and comments that may tarnish their reputations and untagging themselves from potentially controversial photographs. Many teens have learned that even the most inconsequential-sounding status update or comment could follow them for a very long time. Scheff adds that parents should continue to take an active stance in teaching their children how to keep their online reputations clear, preferably by leading through example.
Understanding that a positive image could help them get far in adulthood, adolescents approaching college-age have been adopting proactive reputation management techniques to help give them a sterling online presence and improve their chances of entering a good college.
Moreover, it should be apparent to teenagers that reputation management doesn’t stop after they’ve entered their school of choice. Being on a constant watch on one’s online and offline reputation is a lifetime commitment that follows both young and old.