A Carefully Constructed Reputation

Do you have a reputation? What is it, and where did it come from? Is it accurate? What do you think about it?

No, I don’t have a reputation. I’ve only been using this name for 3 weeks, it’s got a lot of bedding in still to be done. If you drill back in my Twitter account you can find the person I used to be, and the person I still am under another hat.It’s quite strange being part of my generation. I’ve had an online presence since I was 13, and kept the same username for all of that time. That means that you can find some really, really stupid things I said on the internet when I was young (and some when I was less young.) I am part of that generation who reached adulthood and had to actively hide who we’d been, lest an enthusiastic hiring manager go prowling through Facebook. We had to make the decision about whether to lock our Facebook accounts down or purge them of incriminating content, and if we purged them we had to decide where our line was.

For me, the fanfiction went to hidden accounts and other names. I don’t mind people knowing that I write, but I’d rather they hear what I write from me. That way I can explain that no, not all fanfiction is like 50 Shades of Grey, and it’s not all about sex. Some of it, but not all of it. The morris stuck around, because I’d never want someone hiring me under the misapprehension that I’m normal. I got my last job largely because I spent my entire interview laughing with the man who went on to be my Team Leader. He wanted to hire me, but chose the candidate with more experience. When he stopped turning up, I got the call. That was the interview where I decided that I might as well just be myself.

I didn’t have to hide pictures of me drunk and disreputable, didn’t have to clean up my language or my act. I was lucky in that.

So anyway, I sanitised my Facebook account and started a new Twitter account, to keep my hats apart. A year or so later, when I decided to devote myself to writing full time, I did it again. Now I have three hats, and this one is still shiny. No reputation yet, so this is where I make it. That’s a bit scary.

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5 thoughts on “A Carefully Constructed Reputation

  1. You really hit the nail on the head. I started talking in Harry Potter forums and writing fan fiction in middle school (and recently had to answer the question to a coworker about whether my fan fiction is like 50 Shades of Gray–which it’s not). I can’t delete everything I wrote under that old name–and it’s unique enough that things I hardly remember writing will pop up in a google search and I don’t have the ability to delete them anymore because I don’t have access to my old AOL account anymore. It’s a strange feeling. I leave up even my oldest and most embarrassing fanfic to remind me of how far I’ve come. There was never much that needed sanitizing on my Facebook, though I sometimes wonder if political leanings could keep me from getting a job. the internet has changed so much in the time period you and I have been here. Sorry this reply is a bit rambling, but…I just wanted to say that I feel like you really understand the situation.

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