Before you post that image to Instagram, pause for a moment and think: could it hurt my online reputation?
If you are like the 300 million active monthly users that upload images, it’s probably never crossed your mind to think much about what you are posting. But maybe you should.
Nearly 30% of all US social media users are turning to Instagram, and as a result of this massive uptick in popularity, problems could crop up. Although its used differently than say Facebook, which seems easier to promote poor choices, Instagram still could be prone to “user regret.” Its time has come, and a mistake here could impact your online reputation in a bad way.
Here are six things to look out for.
1. Job Recruiters Are Looking
Remember hearing about job recruiters or prospective employers that scour Facebook looking for any potential employment blemishes? They are now turning to Instagram. As the site’s popularity grows, so does does it become a leading resource for employers to check up on you. So beware of adding images that are too personal, such as those containing nudity (which probably will be bounced anyway) or near-nudity, drunken behavior at parties, risque actions, etc.
2. Your Boss Could Be Looking
You called in sick with a sudden case of “workitis” but instead headed to the ball game and posted a selfie in the stadium. That could be a no-no if the boss finds out or sees your feed. Although you see who are following you, users can simply use an alias or add a non-descriptive name to mask their real identity. That means you don’t really know who is looking at your images, which can be dangerous. Consider locking down security settings so you can approve who follows you.
3. Don’t Offend Clients
Clients or potential client could get turned off. Why? Maybe because you added an image mocking their town, their industry, their home-town sport team, their favorite watering hole. Who knows, and to a certain degree it’s out of your hands which business connection you may turn-off. But be aware that it may happen. Instead, try to be more moderate with your views, and avoid images that may lead to controversy.
4. Avoid the Snark Comment
Writing a comment to someone else’s image-post sounds like a good idea because it is a way to engage with others and show that you are active online. But what if they take offense to the comment? Don’t be snarky, biting, critical, engage in arguments, or generally be impolite.
5. Use Your Own Images
Rephotographing someone else’s images, especially without attribution, could lead to problems, so don’t be tempted to claim an image as your own it it’s not. The whole point of the site is to be a showcase for original photographs that you make. If you are enamored by an image and feel compelled to share it, just mention who the photographer is.
6. Show Up in Google Searches
What if someone was so unhappy that you posted an image of them that they took to blogging about it? Even in a “closed system,” i.e., where some of the above problems won’t directly show up when someone does a Google search on you, they could appear later. Someone annoyed could easily to turn to twitter or another website to air their grievances. This then would show up on searches and your web reputation could be compromised.
Bottom Line: How Instagram Can Hurt Your Online Reputation
To a certain degree the above may sound like a buzzkill and drain the fun out of Instagram, but be aware that image posts here are powerful, and people take notice. Remember: your online reputation IS your reputation, even in Instagram.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at Recover Reputation.