Surely, in your daily life you are in situations where what you express and what you wanted to express have no relation at all. This kind of situation happens at work, when we make a compliment to the boss that shamelessly ends up misunderstanding, on Whatsapp when your couple thinks that you got angry because you forgot to put a smiling emoji on your message, or when you use the ambiguity in phrases like “we have to talk” or “Ok, I’m fine”.
All these daily situations are usually managed with a remarkable blush that denies our words, a long and complicated apology or a simple “I’m sorry, that’s not what I wanted to say”, hoping everyone forget the misunderstanding as soon as possible.
All this happens when we talk daily, on a face-to-face communication, on a “natural” situation but, what happens when all these situations happen on an online world? What happens when the slip is reflected and fixed openly and publicly?
Reputation in “daily life” vs online reputation
The difference between “daily life” and the life that we create online is an ambiguity itself, there should be hardly any difference between one and the other: our activity on the internet is nothing more than a reflection of our activity in other scenarios, but precisely because of its definition and virtual nature, the border between both worlds can be extended to the point that what we are is not even minimally reflected in what is seen on the network.
This is because the Internet and the normalization of its use has brought numerous advantages, but the fact that it is such an accessible and standardized medium, also brings with it certain dangers that if we don’t know how to manage or do not give it the importance they deserve, can affect us much more than we could imagine.
“The importance of reputation is reflected in data such as that 35% of companies reject prospective candidates by viewing their public profiles on social networks”.
Let’s see it in a practical example: one of the biggest challenges facing online communication is that sometimes it is not possible to interpret the right tone of what we are saying, so a single phrase in a similar situation in daily life, may have different answers in an online environment.
This is the case when a friend asks you for an opinion on how is she looking with a wedding dress. If you think she is looking good you will say “It’s not bad”, and she will feel she looks ok because of your fast answer and the honesty of your tone. Everyone will be happy and the situation will not go any further.
“Response time, interactions of other users,” likes “, or your decision of intervene or not can create different readings of the same situation”
But, if your friend uploads on Facebook a picture wearing the same dress asking for opinion and you answer her “It’s not bad”, despite being the same sentence transferred to the online world, there can be different interpretations. Depending on the mood of your friend and on the tone she puts on your answer when she reads it, she may think that you don’t really like it at all or create an endless number of readings that can go from the compliment to the offense, without pretending.
And what is worse… It comes into play other people can comment on your own comment, the response time, the number of “likes”, and other circumstances that may be favorable or unfavorable to the tone with which you wrote it.
The reflection on the internet: a powerful tool to control
The difference between the two cases we have just seen is not only that the “negative” result is disproportionate in the online case against the case lived “live” with your friend: the main difference and key importance and why we should know how to manage our online reputation is the responsiveness and control we can exercise over the consequences.
In a similar situation that happens “face to face”, there are many more signs that help us to correctly interpret our words like the tone, the expressiveness, the circumstances in which we perform the action, etc. And what is more interesting: we can qualify at the moment, excuse or agilely disguise what happened.
In the same situation expressed in social networks, forums, comments, etc., according to how people read it they can interpret your comment like a constructive, destructive or simply informative one. And furthermore, because it is permanently online, and almost always difficult to delete, you are exposed to receive a bad review or malicious answer at any moment that leave you in a bad place. From the moment you hit “intro”, you are exposed and with little control of the consequences.
Online reputation management: the ultimate weapon of brands
So far we have seen the importance of online reputation management in cases where we act as individuals, but there is an area where reputation on the internet is everything today, and it is the business area.
The era of digital information makes possible, for good and bad, that we have on our mobile screen in seconds all the details that we need to convince us if it is appropriate to buy or not a certain brand, if that restaurant with so good look really offers good food or if the services offered by a plumber are professional or sloppy.
“Around 80% of mobile users are looking for opinions and the menu they offer before going to a restaurant”
This immediate information in the best case is in line with reality: so, if you are a good plumber, punctual and attentive with your customers, so will be reflected in the comments on the page where they contacted you. But there is also a “perverse” scenario, in which your competition or a user who has been dissatisfied with your services, will attack you mercilessly saying bad thinks about you conscientiously.
This is the case that we must keep more under control when we manage digital reputation, since it is the case in which “what I am” is more disconnected from “what they see”.
Do you still think you have control over who you are and what people see about you? Avoid any misinterpretation or double readings and balance your daily personal and brand life with your reflection online. How? Counting with the tools and professionals that make it possible, counting on Reputation Crisis.