Monthly Archives: September 2012

The Rush to Reputation Ruin

Well, I’m back in the office after taking a break from things so now I can get back on track with regular posts.

It seems every week, there’s another story about someone sabotaging their career with a variety of social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. Do people not stop to think about the ramifications of their rants and antics when the very people they mock become witnesses to their stupidity? Whether it’s government bureaucrats partying on the taxpayers’ dime and posting photos and music videos of their hijinks, or high-profile politicians posting lewd photos of themselves online, the complete absence of forethought for the ramifications of such moronic behavior has long-term consequences, both on and off the Internet. People get disciplined or even fired for such imbecilic behavior, but their lapses of discernment linger for far longer in cyberspace.

Has common sense taken a holiday? Has the world’s doofus population exploded? I think that such behavior is nothing new–it’s always been around–it’s just that now people have the opportunity to instantly broadcast their antics to the entire world through various social media outlets, which act like flames to so many “watch me, hear me, NOW!!” moths screaming for attention. In fact, many of these social media tools have set the conditions for repurposing the word “social” to mean any non-verbal/digital communication that doesn’t involve actual interpersonal interaction.

When creating and promoting your professional brand for the job market or a career move, navigating the social media landscape can be like walking across a minefield. You have to be select not only with which applications you choose to use, but what you choose to reveal to the world if you want to protect your professional brand. Your brand consists of three fundamental components: your specialized professional or technical expertise; your public image or persona, and your personal values. People whose professional brand is centered on strong personal values–who possess a rock-solid moral, ethical compass–rarely allow themselves to fall into compromising situations. They understand that their professional brand is more than just what they excel at doing–it’s who they excel at being that is the higher value.