What Can Anthony Wiener and Geraldo Rivera Teach Us About How to Behave Online?
Kids, don’t do this at home! That’s the message we should be getting from the recent Anthony Weiner revelations about sexting additional images of himself that recently surfaced (again), and of Geraldo Rivera, the Fox News journalist, volunteering a buff, topless, tequila induced “naked selfie” photograph of himself to twitter followers.
In other words, these are perfect ways to ruin your online (and offline) reputation. The best strategy is to don’t “overshare”: some things are just better left private.
Here are five tips that could help.
Leave The Ego at Home
While it’s tempting to boast about the latest deal, conquest, or transgression of some kind, its best to keep it private. Bragging is okay (but perhaps tacky) but don’t go overboard. Not knowing (or caring to know) the inner workings of the mind of Anthony Weiner, it seems clear that there is some compulsion involved or urge share images of himself. Same with Geraldo. Could it be an ego trip to post images online, no matter how damaging they are in reality?
Don’t Drink and Post
Drinking and posting don’t mix. Put the phone away! Stay clear of the mobile devices! When tipsy or worse, DON’T write anything online (except to text a taxi, maybe). Clearly, this apparently was not the case for Geraldo who allegedly befriended the bottle before his foray into “TMI” (too much information). The same might be said for any extreme emotional state, such as being overly tired, returning from a long and exhausting trip, a breakup, divorce, etc. It could be tempting to just let the feelings flow but you probably will regret it the next morning.
When In Doubt, Pause
If you’re not sure about whether you should post something, don’t. Pause. Think. If you cant think, pause some more. Waiting before you hit “send” can mean the difference between a ruined online reputation or just a another day. Or, sometimes its enough to just write the post, Tweet, or email and don’t send it. If its important, let it sit over night and review it the next day when your head is clear.
Keep Images G Rated
Never ever post anything you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see online. If you think she would be embarrassed, don’t post it. Any image that could be considered slightly off color, risqué, nude-ish, topless should be avoided. Who knows when you’ll be searching for a job next—because the first thing a prospective employee does these days is conduct a Google search for you, and if those images show up, they’ll just go on to the next candidate, client or whoever.
If something does make it online, for whatever reason, be ready to move quickly. Take it down, if possible. Acting fast may mitigate any problems that come up. Or if it’s already online, respond immediately with an apology or just acknowledging it. Finally, start adding good information to try and push down the negative off the first page.
The Bottom Line
What have we learned? The best online reputation management strategy is to don’t do it—avoid adding that dubious, embarrassing or worse image, text, post, or Tweet. Thanks for the lesson Mr. Anthony Weiner and Mr. Geraldo Rivera.