Okay, brace yourself there is about to be some very scary information revealed here, and this could be a dark and foreboding place for many of you.
In the 1970’s, there were no such words known publicly like internet, world wide web and forget about online image and reputation. In the 1980’s there was a bare hint of online reputation and rumors of this thing called the internet! By the mid 90’s the world had turned a corner, and fast. Now there is no slowing this monster called the internet, and it is growing each and every second of every day.
The impact and influence of this growth on business, reputations and image is far reaching and powerful. Reports state that 80% of the world’s population shops online. To think that Thanksgiving’s famous ‘Black Friday’ now has a counterpart in ‘Cyber Monday’ is almost incomprehensible. It is the greatest change in terms of having the actual power to influence or change reputation and image since the television was introduced!
This not-so-fast by today’s standards dial up internet with handshake and all to introduce a user into this strange new world hasn’t merely changed but morphed. It is an entirely new enterprise that began as a communication and connection network has now become a tool of power, money and control. It is wasn’t so difficult staying out of this online society not so long ago it seems. In the ‘that was then this is now’ of the online world, it may not be that simple today.
A catchy and popular saying reads, ‘keep up or get left behind’. That is the exaggerated simplification of saying it is important to stay relevant, to be competitive and to not get lost in the mix. With this new marketplace comes the threat of negative data. Images, reports, attacks and a million other threats to character and reputation now exist.
Sounds heavy, right? It is. This is real power that is being discussed.
The truth is, there is almost no other option for safety’s sake alone other than that of making sure an online reputation and image is at the very least, correctly reflective. Bad reports or damning reviews carry much more damage the longer they go and can become almost contagious.
Now that skilled and talented group of HR and reputation management professionals enters stage right. What used to be logging onto the internet, checking the new company website and personal social media (which was all of one, maybe two sites) was all that was required to manage and maintain an image and presence. This is a completely new creature today. This is why there is an entirely new role in HR departments that specializes in social media alone.