Politics figures prominently in the world of Online Reputation Management (ORM). As we all know, millions of people express their political opinions via social media on a daily basis. Our take on this may be a big disappointment to many of you, but it’s critical that we communicate our strong opinion here. Our findings show that there is little, if any benefit to you engaging in political discourse online. If anything, voicing your opinion can be a tremendous detriment to your career.
Repceptional’s job: To protect your online reputation!
Today we find ourselves in an unprecedented period of political activity, and a very volatile landscape in the world of news. The urge to voice opinions on social media grows stronger each day. And more and more people fall prey to the temptation. Not good, at least in our opinion. Naysayers will say that we’re “soft” and perhaps boring. They’ll argue that we don’t understand the essence and spirit of the first amendment. Our take: When it comes to careers, you should always take safe over sorry.
Here’s our plea:
(1) Voicing strong support for a political side immediately alienates you from 30-50% of others who go the other way. Stop and think about that for a second. Is it really worth it?
(2) Politics has a way of making very rational people act and speak irrationally. Anyone care to challenge us on that front?
(3) Can you lose a job over a political view/opinion? It’s not out of the realm of possibility. A Google search on this yields some very interesting results. Here are two links to relatively recent articles on the topic:
(4) Let’s say you’re a finalist for an incredible new job, or on the cusp of landing a big new account for your company. Will the decision maker who determines your fate do an online search, and check out your social media properties? Absolutely! And what if he/she happens to land on the other side of the political equation? Please refer to (1), (2).
(5) Congratulations – you have an opinion! Maybe a really smart, well-thought out one at that. Newsflash: There are millions of others just like it. The likely outcome of your post in support of an issue, or against a candidate is that you entertain a small group of people at the expense of annoying a potentially bigger chunk of your network. And you’re opening the door to a potential mistake on the career front.
Don’t get us wrong; we’re not trying to silence the world, or pull the plug on political discourse. Happy hour, dinner parties, phone conversations – they still remain perfect opportunities for healthy banter. But the smart play is resisting the temptation to engage online.
Your next steps:
Using your best judgment, go through your all of your old posts on social media. When you come across posts that might come across too strongly in one direction or another, delete them.
If the need to communicate is so strong that you simply can’t stay away from participation, we suggest creating a VERY discrete twitter accounts that can’t be tracked to you specifically. To play it completely safe, if you are being considered for a new job, promotion, etc. you might consider temporarily suspending the alias account, and reactivating when the coast is clear.
In repairing and building a strong online reputation, there are times that you need to play it safe. This is one of them.