Technological advancements have made connecting with others online extremely simple. So simple, in fact, that many often forget that billions of people can see what they post online. Making mistakes can be an unavoidable reality, but making them on the internet can quickly escalate things.
In this article, we’ll show you how to prevent your online reputation from getting damaged and how you can fix it when it does.
Prevent damage to online reputation
They say prevention is better than cure, and that quote applies to managing your online reputation. Here are some tips to avoid getting into situations that can affect how people perceive you online.
- Avoid spending too much time on social media. – Too much of anything is a bad thing, and that’s also true when you’re on social media. The longer you are at it, the more likely you are to say something that you will end up regretting. Tone up your online presence if you can. Disconnect from the net from time to time. This will not only minimize potential mistakes, but will likely help maintain your sanity as well.
- Think twice before posting – Remember the adage, anything on the internet stays there forever. This is an often underestimated character of the internet that you really need to be careful of. Everything you say on social media has a lasting impression. You may have forgotten your message the minute you decided to press enter, but this thing will be seen for days or even weeks. If it catches the eye, it can stay in trend even longer. Be careful what you say on the internet because people take a long time to forget.
- Try to review your old messages from time to time – People mistakenly believe that deleting messages will erase them from the net. This is only partially true. The Internet is not a single entity, it is millions and millions of computers connected to each other. There is always bound to be a backup of all currently published data somewhere.
Nevertheless, you should try to check your old messages from time to time to find anything that might attract unwanted attention. Of course, you can’t really permanently delete something from the internet, but deleting old messages can at least make them harder to find. It’s also best to delete old messages bit by bit rather than dozens at once.
Limit the damage
When the worst case happens, you should at least know what to do to minimize the fallout. Stay calm and don’t panic. Try to approach the problem rationally and you can get away with just a bruised ego.
- Take a Break – The first thing you should always do when faced with a sudden influx of negative feedback is to step back, turn off your computer or phone, and then go do something else. Don’t get overwhelmed by emotions. Angry posting is never the answer. On the contrary, it can make things worse. Take a break, then come back when you have calmed down.
- Don’t get into a flame war – The worst thing you can do is get into an argument that lasts several articles or even pages. Engaging in a quiet debate is fine, but be careful that it doesn’t escalate into meaningless name-calling or small talk. Do not add fuel to the fire. If the other side does not listen to reason, then there is no point in extending the argument. Be the best person and let it slide.
- Ignore, don’t block – People who spend a lot of time on the internet tend to have shorter attention spans. Or at least that’s what a recent study showed. It also means that if you don’t pay attention to trolls and flamethrowers, they’ll get bored and move on. It’s often better to use Ignore for negative messages rather than Block Senders. Ignore means you can’t see their messages, but the sender isn’t notified. This is because some trolls use the fact that they have been blocked as justification for continuing to troll.
- Apologize – There is a lot to be said for acknowledging your mistakes. If you know you’re wrong, admit it and sincerely apologize. Trying to defend an action that is obviously wrong will only backfire in the long run. Say you’re sorry, and mean it.
A bad experience for anyone
Damaging your online reputation is a bad experience for anyone. Arming yourself with the knowledge of how to prevent and even repair this damage when it occurs can save you a lot of stress.
Have you ever been in a situation where you had to try to fix your online reputation? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.