Reputation Is More Important Than Ever

Yet again comes the “death of” meme, this time from Mike Arrington. The headline grabs, but Mike, IMHO, is not really saying what the headline does, he’s making a point w/ some nuance, which never translates well to headlines. He is saying that in the online flame and bake world of today, it is harder to manage and maintain a reputation, not that it is not important, or even dead. On this point, he is correct. For businesses and for people, it’s a wild west world where comment streams, twitter feeds, ratings, rankings, news posts, speeches and photos can pack a punch, where it is harder than ever to figure out what is true and what is rumor and where the ability to discern when to respond to attacks and when to pause becomes more critical than ever. He also says he is giving up, which I find difficult to believe. Smile

But the answer is not the death of reputation, but the realization that it is more important than ever. Because while everyone makes mistakes, has photos out there, commits youthful indiscretions, middle aged indiscretions, etc, these are subsumed in the idea of reputation with a big “R.” This is made up of all we do, how we act in public, in private, online and off. A reputation of fairness, built over years, can’t be undone by a Yelp review or random blog post. So the challenge is simple – think about reputation as a long term thing, built and nurtured and rebuilt time and time again. That is enduring. And important.

3 Responses to “Reputation Is More Important Than Ever”

  1. Jeremy Pepper Says:

    Was having a discussion about this – well, not reputation – but transparency, and how transparency really does not matter, but it is about authenticity.

    Yes, you can’t control your reputation 100 percent, but you can strive to be authentic. At the end of the day, that’s likely more important.

  2. Andrew Pickup Says:

    Interesting post, Frank, thanks for sharing.

    I agree that managing reputation (whether an individual, brand or organisation) is becoming increasingly challenging in a world where anyone with an enabled mobile phone can create, publish and share their opinions to a global audience very simply, quickly and easily.

    Mark Twain once famously remarked “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes”. It could be argued that, in today’s always-on, Internet-enabled world, the truth often hasn’t even woken up yet !:-)

    The current explosive growth in social media also has, however, a potentially positive effect on managing reputations – specifically, it enables new ways to enhance and protect them. Nurturing a loyal online community of advocates, for example, can act as brand-reputation defence-mechanism, by providing a 3rd-party collective voice when the brand is under attack.

    We can all think of brands with an especially strong grass-root advocacy base, some developing even to the point of becoming blind-faith fan-boys, perhaps. Social media enables these communities to organise themselves and become an effective and passionate voice in support of the brand.

    New York-based Internet VC Fred Wilson makes a similar point, and provides an example in this recent post. http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2010/03/how-to-defend-your-reputation.html

  3. Tom Murphy – Murphy’s Law » Re-thinking personal reputation Says:

    [...] complex and it could be argued that the internet just makes it more so (Read Frank Shaw’s post: Reputation is more important than ever – some good common sense comments [...]

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