Maintaining integrity in your personal brand

One week hero, next week zero…it’s a fickle world in the hectic churn of social media.

News this week that players from the uber-jubilant AFL club Richmond would be investigated following the leak of what is being dubbed as ‘revenge porn’ is a timely reminder that we are all merely human in the rise and fall of social media judgement and integrity.

While the naked female at the middle of the investigation, clad in just a grand final medal is unrecognizable, it certainly brings the tone down as the victorious roars of devoted Tigers fans, starved of a grand final win for three and a half decades, still echo through the streets surrounding the MCG.

And in the realms of a football league, which last year saw three of its most significant executives embroiled in highly public ‘integrity’ assessment, it’s a reality check for all.

The frantic feast that is social media, means that there is a sort of mob mentality that builds quickly.   The fire of interest spreads quicker than a drought-induced bushfire in a north wind.

While the photographer of Richmond’s unwitting medal pin-up claims the photos were deleted and has no idea how they mysteriously moved from his phone to a few hundred thousand Australians… how they sped so rampantly through social media is no mystery.

It is the reality of the world that we live in, that what appears to be an intimate moment of trust, or even a good bit of fun in the best of Aussie colloquial form, can quickly arrive in the public sphere and become an abuse of trust.

Sadly, in a world where these flaws are so visible, human error and a lack of judgment can sometimes damage a brand irreparably.

While the level of scrutiny on this particular situation may abate quickly in a kind of ‘boys will be boys’ mentality, that awareness, and the level of acceptance with which we treat issues like this have to be looked at seriously.

We’ve just watched Miramax movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein unravel spectacularly.  And one expects the gifts of revenge from women who have been mistreated and retreated will keep coming on that one.

My point, in this broad landscape, is that personal integrity has to be something that we are aware of in all aspects in which we communicate.

It’s not enough to conduct our professional and personal lives in an ethical manner.  We need to maintain our personal ‘brand’ with integrity, and that means social media posts, no matter how off the cuff, need to be thought through.

In an era where google can mine through the archives of our lives, what we put online now, will still be there for years to come.

For we mere mortals, the individuals without the profile of a Kardashian, we need to tread lightly and know that a slip of the keyboard online can impact future job prospects and life decisions.

For those in the public eye who are held up as heroes and role models, keep it clean people! There are children watching!  And in 10 years or more, they might be your own, googling and ogling at your accidental canoodling!

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