Everyone has opinions, and that’s awesome! Some choose to stay quiet and keep to themselves. Others are more than happy to dive right in and speak their mind on everything – controversial topics included. Those people are not as concerned about their reputation.
This might happen at a coffee shop with friends – that’s great. Or maybe out for a drink after work – also cool.
But how about on social networks, forums, or discussion groups?
Depends how you want your personal brand and reputation to be perceived,
Some people strategically talk about controversial topics to gain more traction in a niche. Ok, I get it. That can be beneficial.
Others choose to stay away from commonly controversial themes like politics, religion, or other hot-button topics that I can’t think of right now.
But one thing to consider about your online reputation before “wading in” to controversial topics is….
The damage can be permanent.
Once you join a controversial discussion, a permanent impression can be made to your reputation by followers, be it good or bad. Even if you say some crazy stuff and delete it later, influential people could have seen it, and that may have already caused harm to your brand.
Your opinions online can have a much more lasting affect to your reputation than if you say something silly with friends on Friday after work.
Here’s one example that I have followed lately. In Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada this spring, 80,000 people were displaced with very little notice, as a wild-fire roared through their city. I live five hours from there, and follow the updates on the news.
Fort McMurray is one of the largest oil producers in the world, and from an environmental perspective people have very strong opinions about the long-term impact. But, the amount of negative comments directed towards the city and its people during this horrible event has been disappointing. Surely this event is not “karma” and “everything happens for a reason” territory is it?
Imagine if you have built a business for years, and took to the internet with a mean, predatory angle on this tragedy?
Can’t do “takesy – backsies”. You said it. It’s out there now!
One moment of “posting weakness”, or “video chatter” could affect your brand and reputation long term, and you need to understand that.
The internet is a great place to share your opinions and become well-known, and it’s amazing that we have this technology at our fingertips. But before you post something that you are even considering to be controversial, take a moment to reflect before you hit “send” or “record“. Your reputation depends on it!
- Have you ever seen any well-known brand (big or small) negatively hurt by something they did online?
- What irreversible damage was done, and what did they try to do about it?
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