Forever on the Web

6 Oct

I’ve been thinking lately about the staying power of words on the web. I’ve had a sticky-note on my desktop for a while now to remind me that I wanted write about this, but to be honest, I’ve been a bit busy and using my brain to write a clever, informative post has not been at the top of my list lately – 2 Masters courses, a PR course and a new job have kept my brain effectively fried after 8 pm for the last two or three weeks. But since I’ve had a weekend to recharge, I thought I’d get at it finally. 

There was a discussion brought up on Friday at a TFC Lunch and Learn that also somewhat helped prompt m
y thoughts again. Joe came in and was talking to us about the importance of monitoring wh
at’s being said about our clients online. He gave us an example of a post he wrote about two years ago that is still getting hits. It was a post about his unhappiness with a service he had been part of and felt it was not providing particularly good customer service. Even though it was two years ago, that post is still being read today – I know because I just went to it. Side Note: I’ve chosen not to link to the post here because the to
pic of his post is not really the point here. My point is that people still manage to find things about clients, companies and services long after they were written. 
I should also add though, that the staying power of words on the web is not just about beefs with customer service or where your name ends up in the Google ranks. For instance, about three or four years ago, I sat a Board at my University. The meetings were totally public, and at one meeting I expressed a point of view that I felt was quite valid and I thought, well presented. Unfortunately, a student journalist felt the need to take my words out of context and write a story in the student paper. Well, just my luck, a blogger picked it up and for quite some time whenever someone looked for me, his entry became the first item in the Google ranks. While it’s not easy to find now (in fact, I believe it to be buried somewhere deep in the blogosphere) I was a bit concerned at one point how that out-of-context comment might come back to haunt me someday. 
On top of that, I recently Googled myself, and have realized that everything I say is recorded. I don’t want to sound naive though, I certainly knew this before, but it’s different looking at every comment you’ve ever left, ever Tweet you’ve made, every mention of your name all lined up and ranked. 
My message is this: Students beware, start protecting your personal brand now because once you hit submit/post/update – your words are there to stay!
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