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A lesson in reputation managment

Fly

Social media has allowed us all to be comedians. Some of us are not that funny. Context is the fly that you cannot quite pin down nor kill sometimes. But when something is printed on hard copy, the ramifications are just as significant as if it had occurred online.

The good thing, if there is such a thing, in being slandered online is you can “do” something about it. There are ways to combat it. But what do you do if it happens in print? and what do you do if it was your 11 year old daughter who did it? Ask her to print a retraction?

Let me set the scene and you decide.

Her teacher had a class project in which everyone wrote 2 recipes. A “how to” if you will, but geared more towards life lessons or something offbeat. Tinged with a hint of sarcasm and frivolity, all of the “recipes” were pretty cute. Nicely bound, it was a collectors item for parents to cherish when they were old and gray. Unless you are my wife and I.

The title of her one recipe was “How to amass a huge gum collection”. The other, “How to get away with not cleaning your room”. Both pretty good topics until you start reading them. I will boil it down to a couple of choice sentences: “Be sure to make the lie good for your gullible parents”..and the other “your unsuspecting parents will think you listened to them..”

There were a couple of other choice nuggest in both stories that I can’t recall but there it was. Now her class consists of 30 kids, and if their parents did what we did, they read each students recipes as well. Woohoo!!! Great.. Now the other parents will think my wife and are gullible idiots..Classic!

I know, I know, they won’t. Some might, but most won’t. Even though perception is not reality, we now have that cute bound book to partly remind us of her 5th grade year. I’m over it, but do you see how important reputation management is both online and offline? And this a simple relatively harmless situation.

Obviously we’re in an offline world situation here but there it is. The big elephant will be in the room every time we go to a school function.”Oh look, here come those 2 idiot buffoon parents..”

SO.. I had to give my 11 year old daughter an abject lesson in reputation management last night. Essentially explaining how she better be sure that what she is writing won’t piss someone off. It doesn’t matter if she were trying to be funny or not. Once it’s printed hard or soft copy, its out there for someone to see or find, the digital footprint.

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2 Responses to “A lesson in reputation managment”


  1. 1 David Gonzalez May 28, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    GREAT Post Marc! Thanks for sharing…

    I have a 7-yr-old daughter who is starting to blog (and her class recently published a book of poems too). Fortunately her poem did not make me and my wife look like gullible buffoons :).

    I will show this post to her when she gets home from school so she has a grasp of the “irreversible footprint” concept.

    Best,
    David

  2. 2 marc meyer May 28, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    Thanks David, painful but even the young ones need to know what lies ahead..


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Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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