• An App to Protect Your Online Reputation?  Well, Sort of: a Look at Snapchat, an Anti-Sexting Tool

    An App to Protect Your Online Reputation? Well, Sort of: a Look at Snapchat, an Anti-Sexting Tool

    Could there be an Online Reputation Management App?

    What if there was an app to control and manage online reputations?  Online reputations can be ruined today in so many ways, including sending indiscreet  intimate or revealing images or messages—otherwise known as “sexting”.

    Enter Snapchat

    Snapchat preemptively prevents an online reputation from being destroyed by making a shared image latent or expire after a brief time period.  This means that an image can be sent but can be viewed only for a specified moment or two.

    According to text from the Android store, Snapchat describes how senders can control how long a message or picture can be seen before it expires after a maximum of 10 seconds:

    The first real-time picture chatting app is now available on Android!

    Snapchat is the fastest way to share a moment with friends.

    You control how long your friends can view your message –
    simply set the timer up to ten seconds and send.

    They’ll have that long to view your message and then it disappears forever.
    We’ll let you know if they take a screenshot!

    Snapchat and Your Online Reputation

    Can Snapchat control your online reputation?  It could be a way to manage embarrassing or provocative photographs from being sent and shared indiscriminately.  However, it cannot completely prevent an image from being shared.

    See Related Article: 25 Free Online Reputation Management Tips and Tools

    Although Snapchat’s goal is to stop the circulation of unwanted photos, it cannot completely restrict them.  For example, although the original sender is notified a when a screenshot of an image is made, there are no restrictions on sending this copy to anyone or everywhere.  Also, it would be impossible to stop another phone or camera to take a picture of the original image, and share it with others.  Also, the privacy policy states it cannot guarantee an message will be deleted:

    Although we attempt to delete image data as soon as possible after the message is transmitted, we cannot guarantee that the message contents will be deleted in every case. For example, users may take a picture of the message contents with another imaging device or capture a screenshot of the message contents on the device screen. Consequently, we are not able to guarantee that your messaging data will be deleted in all instances.

    Controversy: Does it Encourage “Sexting?”

    One controversial aspect of Snapchat is that it could actually be encouraging the spread of sexually explicit pictures by adults—and by teens.  Currently, Snapchat is ranked second in the photo app downloads.  Some argue that it be promoting “sexting” because of the relative ease of sending and then removing indiscreet images.

    Although this seems to be aimed to teens (two laughing young women/girls are on the site’s home page), the problem of image control is becoming pervasive to almost anyone today.  Of course, adults of all ages engage in sending images or messages that could come back to haunt them online and could destroy their online reputation.  Confidential business deals could be ruined by sharing damaging or undisclosed information about a startup or other company.

    Online Reputation Management not Ready for Apps

    Its an interesting app that attempts to manage online reputations with a focus on images.  The development of Snapchat shows how important managing an online reputation is today.

    See Related Article: “Each negative link or review loses thirty customers or $30,000

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