Thursday, August 22, 2013

Older ideas about employer blogging policies have been clobbered by social media and "digital doppelgangers"

The NBC “Today” show this morning (Thursday, August 22, 2013) had a brief discussion of “protecting your reputation online”.
The “gals” pointed out that most employers Google or Bing applicants’ names, as do most dates.  And the big hooker for many people is not what they post, but what others post about them.

I’ve never run into that, probably because I’m “older”.  I’ve been flamed in forums a couple of times, but in circumstances where it was real obvious that the dart thrower had real problems himself.  (I remember an incident on AOL’s “Movie Grille” back in 2000 where someone was offended by my libertarian interpretation of the book and film “A Perfect Storm”. It got wild.)
“Today” pointed out there is a real problem with “digital doppelgangers”, people with the same name as you online, particularly if you have a common name.  Atlantic has a story on it here.  Unfortunately, employers, and sometimes lenders, don’t always unscramble duplicate names correctly, and there is no regulation in the area.  I don’t’ have a lot of problem with it because I have an unusual spelling for an eastern European last name and can use a less than obvious nickname for writing.

The advice was, beyond hiring a reputation management company, to put your own stuff out, preferably on your own site or blog, to make what you want to say about yourself come to the top.

Back in 2000, I had posted a white paper, reinforced by an announced “site persistence policy” on my own site, suggesting that employers would probably start announcing blogging policies and not allow people with direct reports to blog (in “everyone” mode) without supervision at all, because of possible hostile workplace problems.  I even got a question about this proposal from a Wall Street Journal editor in early 2002 (shortly after my own layoff).  During that period, now-famous mommy blogger Heather Armstrong got famous for getting “sacked” (or “dooced”) for blogging about her software company employer in early 2002.  This notion of having “blogging policies” for workers long preceded social media as we know it today.  The tables have turned, and people almost have to promote themselves online, because if they don’t, others will.   I’ve never replaced my own “blogging policy” on my “” but I see I will have to address it as my next book comes out.  Stay tuned. 

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