Easier than what?
Well it’s not as easy as writing silly poems. But it’s probably easier than capping underwater oil spills. And, apparently it’s easier than umpiring a baseball game. But one thing it is most definitely easier than it is: off-line reputation management.
Yup that’s right there’s a difference between online reputation management and reputation management done off the Internet. While many of the same tactics and underlying strategies are used, the situation is oftentimes approached and handled in a completely different format.
So how is online reputation management easier than it’s off-line counterpart? It’s easier because of two reasons. Everything on the Internet is written down, and the Internet gives everyone a platform to speak.
When bad news travels on the Internet it is automatically recorded for history to judge. This makes online reputation management significantly easier than off-line management because it enables the people responsible to track and trace a source of information. Using social media monitoring tools, analytics software, and sometimes even Google’s cache, we can pinpoint the beginning and resulting lineage of any rumor or bad information. This type of power is unprecedented off-line.
In campaign politics one of the oldest and quite possibly dirtiest tricks in the book is what is known as a whisper campaign. A whisper campaign is when an opponent’s campaign will spread negative information or rumors among the voting constituency. Oftentimes, whisper campaigns begin with anonymous sources calling radio talk shows and writing updates to local media outlets. Some campaigns have even gone so far to distribute fake flyers and pamphlets on the windshields of churchgoers and grocery shoppers in order to disseminate false information. This type of reputation crisis is extremely hard to combat because it’s nearly impossible to respond to the party responsible for spreading the rumor.
Oftentimes a candidate’s best response to the above crisis is to use traditional media outlets to go on the defensive and dispute any false information. However, any attempt at doing so oftentimes looks pathetic at best because the candidate is is unable to speak directly to the accuser. With online reputation management we can use tools in social media and beyond to create a powerful platform that enables us to respond directly to the accusing party. We can link to, quote, and even respond in real time, to accusations.
So you might be wondering why it’s important to understand the difference between online and off-line reputation management. It’s important because they both strive to do the same thing in different mediums. Understanding the difference exposes the truly unique behavior of communication in the 21st century. Oftentimes, the constant archiving of conversations and data is looked at in a negative sense in regards to online reputation management. However, when you compare it to off-line management it’s apparent that such archiving serves as a valuable tool to respond to rumors and negative information. So the next time you find yourself angry over a discouraging blog post or hateful tweets, remember that it could be a lot worse. This information could be traveling off-line–being completely untraceable!