introduction of the first theoretical constructs of reputation management actually took place in 1950, with the publication of Erving Goffman’s sociological monograph entitled “The presentation of self in every day life,” in which the operating premise was the notion that human beings were capable of actively “managing” the impressions that others formed of them, and that this could be done to good effect either for an individual or for a corporate “Brand Yourself strategy.” in order to try to satisfy certain objectives they may have, which met their needs.
Professor Goffman was particularly concerned about how someone could control such information, which essentially amounted to narrowing the range of behaviors that would represent what was appropriate, and in so doing, one’s unique reputation could be manipulated in such a way to exert influence over others or to gain an advantage in competition either in a personal or business situation, over time.
Fast-forwarding to the modern world – and now the post-modern world of the internet-enabled search engine, where there is ‘nowhere to run and nowhere to hide,’ in the 21st century – there is no doubt that one must take enormous precautions to learn what kind of information already exists now relating to one’s own brand, or in the case of an individual, what kind of information exists for one’s own identity, which could cause great harm to one of the most precious aspects of a reliability quotient: one’s own reputation.
While in the past, this may have been a concern only for someone who was entering into commerce to earn a living, it is now generally understood that it ought to be a concern for anyone who has an interest in protecting the “asset” that one’s reputation might entail; and while it is theoretically possible to forge ahead on own’s own to do the research which could entail hours and hours of hard-won lessons, it is probably far more effective to take advantage of the opportunity to contact a professional who can see what the situation may be at present, and then make use of the many strategies to mitigate any damage that may have been done, and then monitor the situation regularly. To put one’s head in the sand and ignore the prospect of inadvertant harm is to ignore this new reality at one’s peril.