Now My Kid’s Reputation Matters

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January 11, 2009

Now My Kid’s Reputation Matters

According to the New York Times, potential candidates for Senator Hillary Clinton’s Senate soon to be vacated seat have to fill out extensive background forms for Governor Paterson. All the typical requests appear on the form such as tax returns, spousal business, educational background, arrests, hiring of illegal immigrants, investments (with Madoff, hope not), etc.  But apparently now candidates need to provide urls for their children’s Facebook or MySpace pages. Perhaps the news about VP candidate Sarah Palin’s daughter’s pregnancy caused politicians to be more careful in their vetting process.  No one likes surprises. I doubt that McCain’s campaign dug into Bristol’s boyfriend’s Facebook entries at the time. That is now the past but the future clearly indicates that family social media networks will increasingly become an important element of a candidate’s reputational baggage.  I imagine for some of these candidates, they have never been on their kids’ social media sites.  Who wants their parents as friends?

We can soon expect that candidates for high-level business slots will have to provide information on their children’s social network pages as well.  After all, a company officer’s reputation impacts the reputation of the company and his or her family can cause some collateral damage. Why wouldn’t a board ask a CEO-to-be to provide that information as part of the background check on whether they have the right stuff or not.  [Actually board members should be asked to do the same.] Headhunters may already been doing this background checking as a matter of course but fairly soon, it will be SOP (standard operating procedure) at Fortune 500 companies. Poor kids.  They will all need online reputation managers and coaches soon.

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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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