Bankrupt Reputations

August 29, 2010

Bankrupt Reputations

   Reputation dirt. An article in the Boston Globe describes what people can do to manage their personal and professional reputations.  The feature reviews various firms that help bury the negative and accentuate the positive. One of the experts quoted in the article, Harvard University Internet law professor Jonathan Zittrain, came up with an interesting idea. He suggested that people be allowed to declare “reputation bankruptcy.’’  His idea is that people get to have their online reputations erased every few years to reset them, a method similar to what happens in personal financial bankruptcy.  Surely, this would lead to an entirely new industry — reputation bankruptcy experts. 
The question is whether it makes sense for people who have truly done something wrong (i.e., criminal history) to be given the right to erase their past when it is important to others who might be hiring them or living next door to them to know their backgrounds.  Again, it keeps coming back to the fact  that people should think not once, not twice but possibly three or more times about doing something that is wrong. in the first place.

Stephen Colbert of  The Colbert Report had a funny riff on online reputation management.  I found it on Reputation Defender’s blog (a leading firm that helps bury the negative). Worth the look.

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross
lesliegainesross@gmail.com

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of reputations.

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