How Do You Protect Your Online Reputation?

The power of words. You no doubt have experienced how careless and cruel words hurt others and tear apart the closest of friends. Unfortunately, words have the power to destroy someone's reputation.

Destroying Someone's Reputation

Someone commented: All my life I have been talked and gossiped about, and still am, behind my back. I just ignore them and walk away but sometimes I wonder what the problem with me is and what have I done to deserve being talked badly about.

Even though no one can have complete control over what others say or think about them, it is possible to do some things that can protect your reputation, and possibly prevent people from gossiping about you.

Protect Your Online Reputation

The Internet has the potential to define the reputation of a person for good or bad. Online is often where someone's first opinion of you is formed. So, think before you post. What people see or read about you online influences their opinion of you. You have some control here, so the best thing you can do to protect your reputation is to manage your online presence.
How can you do that?

Simple Ways to Protect Your Online Reputation

  • Takedown anything that is inappropriate online and put up what you would like others to know about you.
  • Don't post inappropriate or sexual comments or photos on social media sites. Whatever you post is painting a picture of who you are. You never know who is going to see something you post. What might seem like an inside joke between you and a good friend can be misinterpreted by someone on the outside, including potential future employers. Information online is often permanent and searchable.
  • Don't post music, lyrics or images that are violent, sexual, or drug related. While you may know you don't do drugs, or that you're not violent, someone who doesn't know you might find it easy to think you are...they might not get the joke.
  • Don't use an email address with sexual overtones, and don't send sexual texts or photos through your phone. You might think you're only sending it to one person, but you never can know for sure who they will think should see it. Nothing on the Internet or sent through phones is truly private, it can all be traced. And remember, everything you do online is sending a message to others about who you are.

Cierra said: If you want to protect your reputation you have to think about if I do this just once, do I want people knowing about it or thinking of me in this way? I know you shouldn't care about what others think, but there are times when it's okay to.

Think about what you are showing others by what you say and the way you act, not only online but offline. People are watching and making judgments about what kind of person you by what you show them. As you begin to understand this, you are better able to act in ways that will enhance your reputation rather than damage it.

If your reputation has been damaged, I wrote this blog with tips on How to Rebuild a Bad Reputation. Check it out!

Dawson McAllister
Dawson McAllister, also known as America's youth pastor, was an author, radio host, speaker, and founder of TheHopeLine. McAllister attended Bethel College in Minnesota for undergraduate work where he graduated in 1968, began graduate studies at Talbot School of Theology in California, and received an honorary doctorate from Biola University.
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