Social Media And Reputation- Who Blows Up First?

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DEMNITAS- a Latin word which denoted the accumulated reputational cachet of a family. Extremely protective of it because their society was built around the concept of reputation (especially the heroic kind), according to history, Roman citizens are said to have killed to protect it. The Gracchi, Julii and others are long gone, though for some of them their reputations endure. So, here we are in the 21st century, where a far more superficial form of DEMNITAS survives, and that is one’s online reputation. I know it goes back to 1989, when I had more hair but less sense, yet these lines from the Roadhouse movie with Patrick Swayze seem to apply…

“Dalton: If somebody gets in your face and calls you a cocksucker, I want you to be nice. Ask him to walk. Be nice. If he won't walk, walk him. But be nice. If you can't walk him, one of the others will help you, and you'll both be nice. I want you to remember that it's a job. It's nothing personal.

Steve: Being called a cocksucker isn't personal?

Dalton: No. It's two nouns combined to elicit a prescribed response.

Steve: What if somebody calls my mama a whore?

Dalton: Is she?”


Ask about crypto-currencies and you’ll hear “Bitcoin” in reply. Yet, if we look at the world today, there’s another crypto-currency which largely goes unmentioned, ie. reputation. I’ve just googled myself and it turns out there are 22 pages where my name pops up as author and/or commentator. At 10 or 15 results per page, that works out to between 220 and 330 hits. In terms of “hits”, even the lowest number far exceeds the considerable-by-normal-standards number of attempts on my life, but still strikes me as high for pretty much a nobody. Of course, the next logical question is, what would a prospective employer think after doing an online search of my name? Broadly speaking, I’ll shamelessly reply with what is probably the most famous quote from Gone With The Wind, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”. It’s not false bravado, but God’s honest truth, because after 2 years, 7 months and 7 days of unemployment along with fruitless interviews, junk mail, countless attempts to steal my identity and lack of response from the “Great Big Black Hole” the internet job hunting thing is, I couldn’t care less even if I had an ISIS psycho with a knife to my throat. Still, I wonder what those who searched for my name would think after all it threw up, out of curiosity if nothing else.


So, here’s my “pull pin, throw flash-bang grenade” moment (invented by the British SAS, it explodes twice, though my question is threefold)- after googling yourself, how many hits do you get and what do you think a prospective employer, love interest, intelligence analyst or embassy official would think, especially since the latest U.S. visa regulations require prospective visitors to hand over the passwords to their social media accounts? If the opinion was wrong both subjectively and objectively, what would you be willing to do in order to remedy it, especially if it had tangible consequences such as being denied a visa or employment? What if in these days of electronically-induced mental blindness someone actually believed yo’ mama was a whore? I await your responses…


Rick Fontes Added Aug 21, 2017 - 11:16am
I jumped over to google and did a name search.  It was surprising to find how many pages popped up that actually referred to me, not someone sharing the name. 
Living as I do way out in the boonies, it was even more surprising was when I first started researching for some stories involving espionage, assassination and such, the amount of surveillance I attracted.  Not a clue who was responsible but it was obvious and thankfully just temporary.
Stone-Eater Added Aug 21, 2017 - 11:52am
the latest U.S. visa regulations require prospective visitors to hand over the passwords to their social media accounts
Are there people who travel there on free will and accept that ?!?!?
What if in these days of electronically-induced mental blindness someone actually believed yo’ mama was a whore?
I wouldn't give a shit. His problem, not mine. Especially since he doesn't know me or my family. At least then I knew who is worth talking to and who not....
George N Romey Added Aug 21, 2017 - 12:00pm
The 15 minutes of google fame.  On the job hunting, yes its become something akin to traveling the galaxies in search of space rocks-far and few between.  The black hole takes over our lives.
Mircea Negres Added Aug 21, 2017 - 1:15pm
Rick, I had a very small digital footprint until around 2008. It was then that I began to write letters to newspapers and they were published. My Facebook account was mostly inactive, until I deleted it a few months ago. About the only forum I'm active on these days is WB since 2015 or so. Still, it's scary how much information is accumulated about internet users and the conclusions that can be reached by those who would judge a person on that. Yeah, the surveillance is bad...
Stone-Eater, the U.S. State Department came up with this a few months ago. Apparently it's not compulsory yet, but not giving them access to your social media accounts leads to delays in processing visa applications. Now that's a problem for a businessman who's got accounts on FB, LI, Instagram, Twitter and who knows what, needs to get to the States ASAP to negotiate a deal but is not willing to give voluntarily access to his accounts. I don't know yet how many people have agreed to this since it came on line, though. I'm with you about the "yo' mama is a whore thing" on the principle that "sticks and stones break my bones...", but it's worse when you find yourself wrongly/falsely accused of child molestation or espionage and the internet idiots of today believe it unquestioningly.
George, sadly this nonsense doesn't last 15 minutes... You know, there's something the "geniuses" who came up with the keyword algorithms for job applications and those who use them haven't figured out- when everybody starts using the same keywords, how the hell will the programs decide on the individual most likely to fit the job requirements? Businesses are cutting themselves off from the labor pool and they're going to suffer for it in the end. Man, not a day goes by without wishing I had been young enough to apply for Mars One...
Guys, many thanks for taking the time to read my article and your answers. 
Stone-Eater Added Aug 21, 2017 - 1:37pm
but it's worse when you find yourself wrongly/falsely accused of child molestation or espionage and the internet idiots of today believe it unquestioningly.
Ok, agreed...
Stone-Eater Added Aug 21, 2017 - 1:38pm
BTW: Means we're no gonna have biz partners in the US LOL
Dino Manalis Added Aug 21, 2017 - 3:12pm
Politeness goes a long way, online and off!
Lady Sekhmetnakt Added Aug 21, 2017 - 5:01pm
I'm surprised that the Big Brother Police State needs passwords. Don't they just hack through it and spy on everyone around the world regardless? 
Leroy Added Aug 21, 2017 - 6:50pm
If I ever need to know my old address, I will have no problem finding it.  No doubt the DMV sells my information.  I'm 34 years older than I thought I was.  Still, it's a relatively small footprint with only 45 hits, and two-thirds have no connection to me.  And two-thirds of those include me in connection with someone else and is not about me directly.  The handful that is about me directly is about a decade out of date.  Of course, that does not include the dark web, which makes up about 80% of the web.
Leroy Added Aug 21, 2017 - 6:53pm
If you have to hand over your passwords, it's a new requirement within the last year.  I heard that there were changes to simplify the process, which requires more information.  Only the government would call it simplification.
Thomas Sutrina Added Aug 21, 2017 - 7:39pm
Here is a list of people that have a reputation: Luis Garavito, Pedro Lopez, Daniel Camargo, Pedro Rodrigues Filho, Yag Xinhai, Andrel Chikatilo, Anatoly Onoprienko, Gary Ridgway, Alexander Pichushkin, Wang Qiang, Ahmad Suradji, Thiago Gomes da Rocha, Moses Sithole, Serhiy Tkach, Gennady Mikhasevich, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Ali Asghar Borujerdi, Vasili Komaroff, and Ramadan Abdel Rehim Mansour.   I think the type of reputation is important also.
Mircea Negres Added Aug 22, 2017 - 12:23am
Apologies for the tardy reply, but I went to bed a little after the chicken. Well, hen. I'm up though, or "Up in the morning before the sun, we are going for a 10 mile run. Rukpak, ruksak en geweer, meneer, meneer ons kan nie meer" as we used to sing in the army. He he, I think the army finished running about 15 minutes ago and they're back in the bungalows right now, while I must still have a sip of my first cup of coffee... Anyway,
MJ, yes, I'm still in the friendly, windy city. Agreed, earthly reputation doesn't take one to heaven, but a good one sure makes for a somewhat easier life in this hell on earth and I think in these days of obsession with the internet, what one thinks of a man's online persona has become important...
Dino, I agree. Politeness is good both on and off-line, though there are fewer polite people these days, at least where I am.
Jenifer, Big Brother does do that, but these days they've become a little slack and prefer forcing people to hand over their passwords, at least at US embassies and consulates.
Leroy, that's not bad. My digital footprint used to be even smaller. Friends and a crazy ex-girlfriend spent a decade looking for me without success. I would've been even harder to find if back then I was independently wealthy and did not need a cell phone. The requirement to hand over passwords to US embassies and consulates during the visa application process is indeed a new one. It started a little after president Trump was inaugurated.
Thomas, that's a good one... Still, what do you reckon a prospective employer would think of you based on your online activities? 
Thomas Sutrina Added Aug 22, 2017 - 8:46am
As I said the list that your on is important.  I showed a very bad list, but their are also good lists.    The employer sees what type of choices you will be making for him by the choices you make for yourself.
Ian Thorpe Added Aug 22, 2017 - 10:51am
I'm lucky in two ways: (1) a few days ago George Romney and a couple of other people were talking about how expressing opinions online can harm job prospects and I thought, Yeah, absolutely, if anyone in the firm doesn't like my opinion I can sack them. :-)
(2) If I Google Ian Thorpe I have to plough through thousands of results on an Australian swimmer before getting anywhere near anything about me.
Mircea Negres Added Aug 22, 2017 - 1:13pm
Thomas, that assumes the employer and HR people have brains along with the inclination to figure out which list one would fall on, and that's not a very objective process...
Ian, there are some benefits to having a fairly common name, though even one of a famous person can't help if the guy whose name you share has unpaid parking tickets, or like it happened to an American visiting South Africa, get mistaken for an identity thief- the FBI mistook the victim for the perpetrator, then asked the South African police to arrest him. Poor guy spent at least one night (might've been a whole weekend, can't remember) in a holding cell, luckily he survived. Yes, it's that bad here, the SA president called him to apologize then the guy left, saying he was gonna sue the hell out of the Feds who still hadn't caught the identity thief.
Leroy Added Aug 22, 2017 - 3:24pm
A Scottish colleague came to the US.  His given name and last name matched the middle name and last name of a fugitive.  He was greeted with men with automatic weapons.  You would think they would learn.  You would think that people with common names pass through the airport all the time.  It happened a second time.  I think I would avoid the US if I were him.
Ian Thorpe Added Aug 23, 2017 - 1:27pm
Mircea, neither the USA nor South Africa are on by bucket list. I have spent time in the USA way back in the 1960s. I was in the north east states and while the working class people were great, I found the professional classes weirdly obsessed with courting the good opinion of their peers. They were (apart from  one family,) the people Pete Seeger sang about in his song Little Boxes. I've no desire to go back.
Mircea Negres Added Aug 23, 2017 - 1:54pm
Leroy, the driver of a predator drone spotted a fierce firefight below. He opened fire and wiped out almost everybody. It turned out to have been a wedding... No matter how smart they are, most people in government never learn.
Ian, at least you visited the U.S. and know why you don't like it. Nothing wrong with that. Like other countries, America may be a great place, but it's the little problems that decide it for a person. I have yet to go. Trying my luck on the lottery for that one. South Africa's a beautiful country with most of the mod-cons people from the First World would expect, and coming from Romania, I felt backward for years... It just has too many crooks, political and criminal, often both types at once. I've met some good folks, but having seen enough, been trying to leave for over 20 years, so I can relate to what you said. 
Lady Sekhmetnakt Added Aug 23, 2017 - 11:51pm
Mircea, this is WAY off topic, but I just wanted to say a big thumbs up to your new avatar. Kick ass as hell! Is there a story or message behind it (other than the obvious)? 
Mircea Negres Added Aug 24, 2017 - 1:14am
Jenifer, there are a couple of stories behind it. First, I've been accused quite often of being a warmonger, fascist and so on by John G. Second, it is to reflect the combative environment Americans find themselves in at this moment. Third, a very nice buddy of mine recently went out, got very drunk and woke up next morning with skin missing from his knuckles. He doesn't know how it happened, so I searched online for a suitable picture and sent him the one I'm currently using as avatar. Apparently there's a line of clothing with such things somewhere in the U.S. Fourth, it occurred to me that if I'm gonna be called all sorts of warlike things, then I might as well go full hog and put on a war-related avatar...  
Mircea Negres Added Aug 24, 2017 - 1:15am
Well, it turned out there were more than a couple of stories behind the avatar ;-)
Lady Sekhmetnakt Added Aug 24, 2017 - 1:28am
Thanks for the background Mircea. Personally, I'm a fan of Vikings (both the History Channel show, and the people), and strong warriors. That's why I like it. In my own traditions (Kemetian) I follow the Netjert ("goddess") Sekhmet, the Lady of Slaughter, War, and Divine Vengeance. The warrior way always resonates with me. 
Mircea Negres Added Aug 24, 2017 - 1:49am
Jenifer, being a student of history, I like Vikings too. They are fascinating, although I reckon that has more to do with the passage of time, because they were scary as hell back then... Being a former soldier and having worked in private security, very early on I came to the conclusion that while violence is not desirable, sometimes it solves problems which all other means have failed to fix. The thing is, it has to be done properly, using the right amount of force on the correct target and for the right reasons, but when things get bad, it's far better to go all out and run the risk of drinking in Valhalla's beer hall than to cower in a corner.  
Lady Sekhmetnakt Added Aug 24, 2017 - 2:34am
Very well said :-) 
Mike Haluska Added Aug 24, 2017 - 3:22pm
I have no facebook, twitter, etc. and I have absolutely no intention to use them. 
Mircea Negres Added Aug 25, 2017 - 2:09am
Mike, Facebook and Twitter seem to have no use other than to provide marketers and intelligence agencies with users' data. I'm with you on that one.

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