Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Think Twice, Write Once

I haven't been very active on this blog lately. Odd, considering the just-completed Christmas season is ripe with spare time and lots of emotional and memory triggers.

But I am careful about what I write in this venue. I generally don't discuss work, family details, or specifics of my personal associations.

And here is why.
Whether they like it or not; and whether they realize it or not, nearly every person who uses the Internet creates an online reputation which reveals details and conveys an impression independent of the actual truth. I describe some of the issues associated with an online reputation at Pajamas Media. There are companies which will sell you reports describing how you "look" on the Internet. There is now an industry devoted to finding, deleting or modifying information about us on the Internet. Don't believe they can do it? Why, check out their online reputations!
Personal reputation is influenced in unexpected ways. Back in the mid-1980s I worked at a technology company in Oregon. It was a wonderful time, professionally, working in a group with a lot of people who became friends, and a couple of people that did not become friends.

At that time I occasionally wore a floppy velvet hat, somewhat like a large beret. (Please, it wasn't ghay, it was hippie. Except that hippie is kind of ghay.) It was a goof, but I thought that if you had to be known for something, better a bit of a goof than cruelty or boorishness, or any of an uncountable list of bad behaviors. If you can't leave `em laughing, at least leave `em with a smile...

...Until four years later during a market downturn when I badly needed a job. Then, during a job interview, the business owner said, with a sneering voice, "I hear that you like to wear funny hats."


I swallowed my pride and laughed it off--got the job. But the job didn't last. The owner was a big a jerk as he had revealed himself in the interview.

But I have always wondered if I was never offered interviews because of some people's big mouths.

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