I came across a post the other day about a photographer who was forcibly ejected from SF MOMA and initially I skimmed it, and then sort of just waived it off. I caught the gist of what he was saying, and as a photographer and artist myself I could empathize with his frustration with the Director who ejected him, but honestly I really just though "so what."
This incident has sparked a pretty respectable uproar and has led me to another post discussing the long term impacts of online critics on personal brands. Jeremiah Owyang has crafted an excellent branch of the discussion started by Thomas Hawk, provoking something which I have thought of but not really given a lot of credence to; how does what I do online really reflect upon me? Or more importantly in this case, how do the actions of others impact me online? Thinking of my digital reputation as a Brand…. It makes sense though; a lot of sense. As a blogger your entire digital existence is based on your rep, and if you have (or have been given) a negative rep, then that's what people are going to expect from you if and when they finally step into your world. As a Web Designer by day, I have put a lot of time, effort and thought into keeping the reputation of my employer well received, and know all too well how some folks with a massive reader base can affect the perception of that Brand – so why wouldn't I extend that same logic to myself or my blogging persona? Maybe because I'm 36 and teetering on the brink of not being cool enough? Or maybe it's simply because I don't view myself in that way – I blog for fun. Although, it would be super-cool if I werk an uberblogger, adorned with fame and insanely high hosting fees to support my ravenous community of followers…. err, maybe not. I enjoy writing and it helps me in my work any number of ways. I blog at home, I also have blog at work.
You see this sort of assault happen all the time to corporations and their products, someone is unhappy with a service or amalfunctioning product so they vent about it online. Just the other day there was an extremely negative review of the new Clone Wars movie, which was ultimately removed at the request of Lucas; most likley to preserve the repuation of the movie before it's released nation wide. It's a well known fact that an unhappy customer makes a lot more noise than a happy one – so it's easy to find bad things that are said about company X or product Y.
Moving this virtual assault towards a person's online reputation is just the next step. With more and more people blogging, and becoming more widely know and read, gaining more online cred; it just makes sense that they would in turn want to start working to protect their Brand Equity just the same as a major corporation would.
I don't have a firm stance on the original topic which started this discussion, but in the end, I am glad it happened….