My online reputation

I have been reading a bit about this lately through various blogs and articles, including Your Virtual Brand by Meredith Farkas in American Libraries, but it all came very close to home through a couple of things that happened to me personally.


Reputation by krossbow on Flickr

The first was news I shared on Twitter. I didn’t think much about it as my Twitter posts are protected. There was no real damage in the news, I just forgot that my Twitter feed was also going to Facebook, so the news got out to a wider audience,  sooner than I had planned.

The second was about my Blogger account. Connecting Librarian used to be on Blogger, but when I decided that I wanted to do more with my blog, I created my own domain name and exported all my blog posts across to it.  However, my old Blogger address still remains as a marker, referring anyone interested to the current location.

Recently,  I got an email from someone I didn’t know, wanting to take over that blog address. I politely declined.

So why are either of these things a problem? Because my online reputation is important to me. Lots of people know about me and what I do through my online presences. Lots of people know me only online, having had no contact or very little contact with me in person.  I have established an online reputation through my name and through the name Connecting Librarian.

Its also important to me because online is where I do the vast majority of my professional networking and I don’t want to undermine the professional relationships and more importantly, the real life friendships I have established online.

In the online world, it is extremely difficult to apologise for a mistake or to re-establish your reputation. Case in point: Catherine Deveny recently being fired from the Age for comments made on Twitter.

I know I have a reasonably good reputation online. How? Because occasionally in real life, I get chatting to or introduced to someone who says that they have friended me online through Twitter or Facebook or follow my blog. I still grin like mad when I remember that I got that sort of response from Karen Schneider when she visited for the VALA 30 year Anniversary series in 2008. I also get the odd email from someone looking for some assistance in whatever way, hoping that I can help or point them in the right direction.

So I don’t want to do anything which will seriously compromise my online reputation – such as saying something in an unwise or untimely manner, or doing something which could undermine my Connecting Librarian brand, like giving up my Blogger account.

So I have had a bit of a wake-up call about being a bit more cautious in what I share and keeping this more in the back of my mind as I deal online. I plan for this not to change what I do dramatically, just make my hopefully do so with a bit more wisdom.

So have you had any online reputation scares or offers? How do you protect your online reputation, or if you don’t, why not?


  1. Hope you also like the article in the May 2010 edition of ALIA’s inCite magazine page 13 ‘Social Networking – advance your career prospects, don’t destroy them’

  2. Hence why season creep the blog and the Twitter has no connection with my Facebook. Far too embarrassing.

    Also, partly why my Frankston Blogs participation was via the comradely name – but that was in part also so I could be critical, antsy, provocative and occasionally quite personal without it being obvious that it was that bloke from the Council library who we thought was so nice. It meant I didn’t have to follow Council policy too.

    Creative expression sometimes have to live in a different realm.

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