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Building or Preserving your Reputation
By Carl ToersBijns, former deputy warden, ASPC Eyman, Florence AZ
Published: 04/18/2016

Boots Hypocrisy is at its highest today and it’s not going away. Everything you say or do has the potential of ending up being posted on the web. Who we are is what others hear or see. To some extent, you need to be sure your image, character and reputation remain intact and display or show a visible character trait you are comfortable with while suppressing any negative images of your character or brand. Remember today, your agency human resources might be tracking your conduct online.

This requires you to be aware of your name or images on the web through careful monitoring of all searches on the internet. Be careful on releasing personal or financial information. Don’t let search engines betray your efforts to preserve your character or reputation on line as well as in the social circles you are engaged in. Although technology has made it nearly impossible to hide on the internet, how you are perceived is controlled by your own actions and posting regular positive content rather than the negativity that thrives on controversies or character assassinations.

Keeping your private information away from others to see is entirely up to how you surf and use the web. What you publish, increases your visibility so the more you post, the more people get to know you and your values. Keep this under control if you want to remain semi-private in your personal life and not interfere with your work-wise related events. The best advice to give is to not post anything on social media, but as it stands today, this form of media influences many decisions how we act or think in public or otherwise. How you act in private is defined by your activities online.

To begin this process, you need to assess or evaluate your current reputation or image online or in searches using your full name, address and other key phrases that associate or link you to other sites. Once you have assessed your current online reputation and have a firm strategy in place, you can easily take control and manage the way you are seen on the internet.

The best method to get rid of the negatives is to delete whenever possible but remember, deleting information does not guarantee it from disappearing somewhere else as a matter of record. Regardless, by dominating or controlling your search results, you may keep the positive information and delete whatever you might have posted that can harm your reputation, embarrass you or cause negative effects in your life.

The next step is to identify significant changes needed in your image, or other things that may identify you negatively. Decide to narrow down your social interactions and choose your best areas already on the web and work on improving them. Don’t spread yourself out so wide, you can’t control the data or information anymore. This is a good time to identify places where your preferred target group hangs out as this maximizes your character and the reputation you want to show online.

Focus on creating that positive image; create a positive reputation strategy that crafts the image you want. Decide, what type of content, whether words or graphic, will serve you best. Keep this strategy going to form a perpetual opinion or image of your character or reputation. The more you influence these search machines with positive data, the better you look and get credit for being who you say you are. Never relent your control to others; don’t give accounts to friends or family who may post on your behalf or publish something that you would never approve of if you knew about it.

As you create the content that will influence your reputation, continue to monitor search results online. Track your progress and keep tabs on all mentions of your name and key phrases so that you can quickly respond to anything negative. In order to avoid the hypocrisy, keep your content consistent and positive as it will act as your agent to build or preserve your reputation.

Corrections.com author, Carl ToersBijns, (retired), has worked in corrections for over 25 yrs He held positions of a Correctional Officer I, II, III [Captain] Chief of Security Mental Health Treatment Center – Program Director – Associate Warden - Deputy Warden of Administration & Operations. Carl’s prison philosophy is all about the safety of the public, staff and inmates, "I believe my strongest quality is that I create strategies that are practical, functional and cost effective."

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