Reputation management is the effort to influence what and how people think of a brand or person when viewed online. Put another way, character is who you are. Reputation is whom other people think you are, and today it's based mainly on what artificial intelligence systems portray about you rather than the first-person experience.
Why Personal Reputation Matters
Personal reputation management: not just for celebs. When most people hear the term personal reputation management, the first thing they think of might be a politician embroiled in a controversial web of rumors, wiretapping, Russian collusion, and wild speculation. Or they might think of a celebrity whose reputation is being picked apart by salacious tabloid headlines and blurry long-distance photographs from snooping paparazzi. Celebrity reputations get a lot of press, obviously.
But in truth, everyone has a reputation, be it big or small. And each person’s reputation matters in his or her sphere of influence, no matter how vast or minuscule that sphere may be. Our world runs on the energy of social interaction and the medium of social media networks. Because of this, the image of an individual has reached a scale that no other generation has had to grapple with.
Today, reputation issues can linger forever in the electronic ether, can explode virally to an audience of millions, and can plunge someone from public applause to public approbation in the space of a few of hours.
Personal reputation is like personal hygiene
One helpful way to think of personal reputation management is to consider the parallel of personal hygiene. Most people choose to brush their teeth regularly, take a shower, tend to their nails and hair, and mask body odor. It’s the socially acceptable thing to do. Whose responsibility is personal hygiene? Personal hygiene is an individual responsibility. There are, of course, people whose age or infirmity prevent them from bathing themselves or attending to their grooming. But most people who have good health and a sound mind will take care of these tasks themselves.
Does it take some time and money? Sure, but most of us believe that personal hygiene is time and money well spent.
But what if you just don’t? What if you stop showering, shaving, combing hair, trimming nails, controlling body odor, watching your diet, and dressing appropriately?
The consequences will probably come in the form of social exclusion. You may be ridiculed, avoided, censured, rebuked, and ostracized if you neglect personal hygiene.
This parallels personal reputation management. Although the consequences may not be odoriferous they can be just as dire. Everyone has a responsibility to tend to their own reputation, and once you neglect it, life begins to unravel.
Consequences of neglect
What kind of “unravel?” It all depends on your life context, but several broad consequences apply. If you neglect your reputation, it is by default manage by the vagaries of chance, the nefarious intentions of others, or a slow demise into obscurity.
Just as no one else is going to brush your teeth for you, few are going to shape your identity in a good way or attempt to control the perceptions of others positively. Those who neglect their reputation wind up being passed over for jobs or promotions, rejected by romantic partners or friends, and suffer from what seems to be bad luck.
In sounds harsh, but socially, there is no excuse for the neglect of one’s personal online "brand". If these consequences aren’t intense enough to encourage personal reputation management, then perhaps the benefits are.
Outcomes of personal reputation management
At the risk of overstating the case, no one becomes successful without personal reputation management. Once you proactively manage your reputation, life opens the doors of opportunity to you.
Here are some of those benefits.
You define your life. Personal reputation management is a lot like creating a business brand. What’s your “product,” or what do you want to be recognized for? Who is your “target customer,” or,what kind of people do you want to be surrounded by? Although most contemporary cultures continue to be vexed by systemic injustice and broken economic or political structures, you nonetheless possess the tools to define your life in a way that you deem appropriate and suitable. Just like you get to define your personal style — combed hair, nice smell, fashionable attire — you also get to define your personal brand and reputation.
Success begets success. Once people perceive you in a certain way, then reality takes the form of those perceptions. This isn't voodoo. It's science. For example, if you amble into a local bank looking like a tramp and asking for a business loan, you may not get a loan, no matter how many of the right boxes you tick on your application.
Security. When you manage your personal reputation, your reputation takes care of you. A reputation gives you a job, a partner, friends, a social safety net, financial means — virtually everything that most people consider to be marks of success. Once this happens, you enter an arena of social and financial safety.
Upward mobility. An outstanding reputation puts you in touch with the people and places that are closed off to those who have no reputation or who have a negative reputation. Through a great reputation, you gain social access to people who have power, influence, and more. What do you want in life? Whatever it is, your personal reputation will deliver it. But first, you need to understand how to manage it.
Recommended Yoga Poses/Exercises
Plough Pose – Halasana
The Plough is a perfect posture to practice after the Candle because it continues the stimulation of the thyroid gland. Moreover, this yoga exercise also works on the lower back and the hamstrings giving both body parts an intensive stretch. It is important to keep supporting the lower back with the hands until the feet can touch the floor comfortably.
Half Bridge Pose (Ardha Setu Bandhasana)
After compressing the chest in the Shoulder Stand and afterwards in the Plough, the Bridge is a commonly used counter pose to open the chest again. This yoga exercise stimulates the thyroid gland as well as the liver and the spleen.
Fish Pose – Matsayasana
The Fish Pose provides a stretch to the neck and opens up the chest. This counter pose after the Candle stimulates the benefits of the previous postures. Deep yogic breathing is stimulated and with each inhalation the chest opens up more and more.
Personal reputation is the responsibility of every adult human living in an industrialized society. But it’s also a true privilege. Done correctly, personal reputation management gives you power, opportunity, and places to go.
Managing your reputation doesn’t need to be painful or time-consuming. It’s the simple practice of claiming your space, being present, and staying aware.