Why You Should Stop Worrying About Your Online Reputation

Last Updated Mar 30, 2010 9:44 AM EDT

A new standard for embarrassing online?This week on BNET Suzanne Lucas, aka the Evil HR Lady, offers advice to a job seeker troubled by a less than distinguished individual who shares their name -- what if a potential employer googled them and mistook the fool with the incriminating online identity for Lucas's hard-working correspondent? Lucas offers several possible courses of action including "don't worry about it." Is she right to suggest this anxious job hunter ignore the threat to their online reputation?
TechCrunch's Michael Arrington, for one, says yes. In a recent post he argues for a more relaxed attitude towards (relatively minor) online indiscretions. He says:
Trying to control, or even manage, your online reputation is becoming increasingly difficult. And much like the fight by big labels against the illegal sharing of music, it will soon become pointless to even try. It's time we all just give up on the small fights and become more accepting of the indiscretions of our fellow humans. Because the skeletons are coming out of the closet and onto the front porch.
With technology offering us so many more opportunities to fire off less than well-thought-out opinions and post questionable details and photos, the flood of potentially negative information about people and businesses is just too massive to control. And, Arrington notes, we're soon to be graced with a product that amounts to Yelp for people, putting to rest any hope we all might of had of keeping our dirty laundry firmly in the hamper.

Of course, some issues -â€" like felonies -â€" will always be worrying, but is it possible that one day embarrassing keg stand photos or occasional online sniping will no longer be a deal breaker? Arrington concludes:

The nonsense we're all worried about today? I just don't think it will carry the same weight in a few years. Because if there are pictures of the person hiring you smoking pot in college online, and there are pictures of every other candidate smoking pot in college online, it just won't be a big deal any more.
Do you agree?

(Keg stand picture [love the balloon hat and classy shirt] by mcclouds, CC 2.0)

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    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.