What is an Online Reputation?
It’s every school administrator’s nightmare: a staff member, teacher, custodian, student or even parent of a student posts something online that damages the school’s reputation and, by proxy, your own. It could be something as simple as…
- An angry ex-employee or parent posting negative comments about you online.
- A teacher posting inappropriate content on her Facebook page.
- A staff member getting arrested over the weekend and his mug shot going viral before school on Monday.
- Students vandalizing the school overnight and posting incriminating videos of themselves online.
- Someone using a school computer to look or post questionable content online.
Either way, the damage has been done. Your reputation is your most precious asset, the one you spent countless years developing with education, dedication to the students and the school. Now, poof – because of the careless actions of others, or even yourself – it’s blown to bits and you’re suddenly in the position of doing damage control. Sadly, the above examples and the fallout they create are becoming increasingly common, all thanks to the rapid nature of the Internet and how quickly items can spread online.
The fact is, every person has an online reputation. Just like any other kind of reputation, how we present ourselves online creates a kind of perception – either conscious or subconsciously. Whether it’s our personal social media accounts, such as Facebook or Twitter, or our professional ones, such as our school website or a professional blog or a profile we might keep at www.LinkedIn.com, we create what is known as an online “fingerprint” that is unique to us.
As school administrators, we are essentially “ambassadors” for our schools, our staff, our teachers, our students, our parents and our district. Whether or not you realize it, your profession propels you online similar to a public figure. You are held to a higher standard as a leader of the young. Therefore, what our online fingerprints look like is extremely important. Not just to us, but a whole lot of other people as well.