While there are plenty of studies out there that suggest a positive link between a company’s reputation and its economic success, no one really considers just how important an online reputation is to individuals. Of course, when someone becomes particularly famous on the Internet, they themselves will be concerned about how they’re represented online, but in general most people could care less. It seems like that apathy may be disappearing though, as economists are now finding that a person’s online reputation may become intrinsically linked to how they perform in the real world.
Anyone that’s ever applied for a job, only to be denied because of something they said on Twitter or because of a poorly timed photo on Facebook, understands just how important presentation can be in the digital world. Even if you think your data is protected, odds are good that someone out there can access it for a price.
What does this mean for the average Internet user? According to OnlineReputationReviews.com, it depends on the perspective. For businesses, it means that products can be directly targeted to individual consumers more easily than ever before. For individual consumers though, it means that eventually their online identity will be the primary deciding factor in what opportunities they are presented with. Google’s chariman, Eric Schmidt, has written extensively about the subject, envisioning a future where people have their existence tied as much to the digital world as they do to the real one.
Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom. The Internet has already made fundamental changes to the way our society functions. It’s not unreasonable to imagine that this will continue to be the case in the future, with the digital identity essentially taking on a similar role to the one our real identities have now. Still, every year the value of online reputation management agencies increases, as people become more and more cautious of how their lives are presented on the Internet. With social media taking on a bigger role in the way communities interact, it’s never been easier for a person’s reputation to quickly spread from community to community. While businesses currently deal with managing their brand’s in this manner, it’s not unreasonable to envision a future where individuals are doing it the same thing.