Your “Friends” ARE Your Reputation
We all know the type. They have more contacts in LinkedIn than anyone could possibly know, and they accept every MySpace friend invitation. They even aggressively seek out new connections just to get more. They do these things as if they matter – but frankly, these days – they don’t. In fact, it can do more harm than good.
Online your “friends” really ARE your reputation. If you have a real network, built based on common interests or even real world relationships, it shows very clearly. If you’re a “friend collector”, that shows quite evidently, too. And these days, people online don’t trust the latter.
With the advent of more organized social media, your online reputation is something to be taken very seriously. Yesterday, when conducting an interview, the candidate asked me about my last position – by naming the actual company and my title there. “How”, I asked, “did you know where I worked before here?” And, of course, I shouldn’t have been surprised to discover he had found it online.
Obviously, I am of the mindset that you should choose your online friends wisely, nurture those relationships for the value they bring, and never give into the anonymous friend request. Yesterday provided ample validation for me that I’m doing it the right way.