« Either show off as you are or be as you shwo off. »
Djalal al-Din Rumi, persian poet persan, XIIIst century.
What is Reputation ?
Reputation, image, how we show off to others by how we are or behave – more generally to our advantage: all are synonyms.
If we are ‘tangent’ to what the family, business, social, cultural and legal context we live in is expecting from us, its already a problem If we go out of that, it’s worse.
What I write here is pertinent at all levels: personal, professional, individual, and as a group.
Losing one’s reputation, it’s decreasing in the other’s esteem; it’s damaging their values and offend them.
Sometimes it’s just forgetting to do something or not being conscious of what we had to do or say. It has the same effect.
Be careful! Our personal reputation can hurt others: family, friends, and enterprise. It’s by the action of one person that the reputation of a group is put at risk.
We all have ‘shadow zones’ and secret gardens.
We all know lies, deceit, deception, and treason. There are also illicit or illegal actions, or these contrary to the standards of our group or society. Acts we can commit in full conscience or not.
It sometimes suffices to be where be shouldn’t have been, with persons we shouldn’t have met. The same with one word too much, or badly chosen.
A nut suffices.
Confidentiality is our main issue. Once the box is open, the evil is done and we fight to put thing together again, if still possible.
Integrity of information, its unwanted modification … or simply separating it from its context, is frequently critical. Accuracy and precision are another source of worry.
Veracity and actuality are frequently a problem. The most persistent and damaging gossips – such as urban legends – are frequently based on wrong interpretations, simple creation and plot construction.
How can we lose our reputation?
Negligence, sloppy behaviour when one pays insufficient attention, an error suffices.
We can send a mail to a wrong address, or be too talkative or trustful.
We can let lay a paper (or any storage media) others can find and open. We can leave our computer session open when we leave, or protect our computers with obvious passwords.
Thanks to Facebook and our profile picture, it is now possible to find on our wall a series of pictures taken by friends or at events…
Ask Google about your name and have a look on all the pictures of you that have been published. You might be surprised.
But, worst are gossips and rumours, false information and identity theft.
It is so easy to open a Facebook or Google account with our name and picture, and to start telling totally unreal things. We’ll have to explain, especially if what is said or shown is illegal or criminal.
Sadly, all what is once written on the Internet is very difficult to remove. You may contract someone to clean it up, but success isn’t 100% guaranteed… and the evil is already done.
In a word: exile! We can
- be ignored or others don’t want to speak to us anymore: around us is the silence
- have a very complicated life with new and heavy constraints
- see doors closing in front of us and be rejected
- lose our job.
Up to you to estimate ‘the degree of pain’ for each information you wouldn’t like see falling in some ears.
How to protect?
Lets’ be realistic, we’ll always make errors or mistakes that can have an impact. It’s a risk to manage or to take. Let’s make our best not to trespass the limits too much.
Let’s implement the protective measures for confidentiality and integrity: access control and cryptography.
Then, I’d recommend to prepare a “communication plan”. A message you’ll publish to state, restore and give meaning to the reality (explain). It’s frequently our best insurance. The one who can resist or recover from these failures, the one who bears the accountability of his acts, rapidly finds his place back.
Even if we are victim of abuse or theft of our identity and place a claim, remaining Zen is always a good point. But it’s more the field of Personal Development.
Have you already suffered an attack to your reputation? Would you love to revive it? It’s the first sensitivity axe you’ll use to classify your information
Your questions and comments are always welcome.
See you soon, more secure with your information