#AUTHORS, WHAT’S YOUR ONLINE REPUTATION AND DO YOU EVEN CARE? #RRBC #RWISA

Reputation is everything

…and if it isn’t to you, then Houston, we have a problem.  Your reputation – is it reputable or is it dishonorable?  Well, so that you have a clear understanding of what a reputation is, let me give you a little refresher on the word.

The estimation in which a person or thing is held, especially by the community or the general public;  the way in which people think of someone or something.

As an author, regardless of what others think or how I am perceived, my reputation is of extreme importance to me.  I have worked hard to build my name and standing in the literary community, therefore, I guard it, and the perception of it, with great care.

Because we interact with our peers and our “communities” without the comfort of solidarity, yet, in an anonymous world behind keyboards, there are those that feel these situations offer a green light to behave poorly and recklessly.

We’re all familiar with online “trolls,” aren’t we?  The ones who go around the web wreaking havoc on everyone’s lives and enjoying every moment of it?  These people tend to hide behind fictitious names so that no one knows who they are, and their steps can’t be easily traced.  After the demise of those fake identities, they simply create new ones to continue along their senseless paths of destruction.  (Wait – let’s not focus on these trolls too much, as I have not the time or the energy to spend on them, even in my writing.  So, moving right along …).  And then, there are those who cause similar chaos online under their real names or Pen names…they just don’t care what others think about their poor behavior, and truth be told, these are the ones I worry about most. The fact that they DON’T CARE ABOUT THEIR REPUTATION OR HOW THEY ARE PERCEIVED, is a very scary thing.  Trust me when I say that if they don’t care about their own, they will lose no sleep over trying to destroy or taint yours.

You see, when I hear someone say that they are an Author, I tend to hold them to a certain level of esteem, and I’ll admit, I also expect a certain amount of professionalism and decorum from Authors.  Why?  Because although change is good, there are some things (in my mind) that should never change.

I remember as a child, dreaming and wishing that I could one day meet my favorite Author (Louisa May Alcott), but deep down, knowing that would never be possible.  Not because she died in the 1800’s, but, when I was but a young lass, Authors just weren’t so “accessible,” and there was this mystery surrounding them.  (And in my opinion, a little mystery always makes life more interesting – wouldn’t you agree?)  We didn’t have the luxury of interacting with them on Facebook and Twitter the way it’s done now, and you know, that wasn’t such a bad thing.  The way they carried and conducted themselves, it was clear the Authors of old cared about their reputations and how they were perceived.  (Kind of reminds you of the Authors on the current RWISA roster, as well as those members of RRBC who also greatly value their professional reputations in this literary arena.)

Today, we have many who display attitudes of nonchalance of decent behavior all over social media.  This is evident when you see the kinds of conversations they carry on on Twitter, the types of images and videos they choose to share on Facebook, and lastly, the behavior they choose to exhibit publicly, period.  Sadly, I’m not only referencing the younger generation. I’ve seen the most unprofessional behavior recently from those who are in grandparent and great-grandparent seasons, that have shown me exactly the behavior TO NOT EXHIBIT when I’m in that same season of life.  I’ve witnessed with my own eyes, two adult women (Authors) in knock-down-drag-out cat fights (aka … war of words) on social media, and as an adult, a mom of daughters, and a professional Author … I was embarrassed for them.  Never in a million years, would I behave in such a manner!

In my embarrassment for these adults, I wondered, Do they not care that others are watching them?  Watching this?  Who would want to run out and purchase their books after witnessing such disgraceful behavior?  I surely wouldn’t.  I imagined seeing the both of them (in the real world) standing outside of a bar, brawling, pulling each other’s hair.  I experienced such embarrassment for them, just watching this play out online – because clearly, they weren’t embarrassed at all.

Engaging in this type of back and forth war-of-words publicly, seals the deal on your online reputation.  People who were friendly with you before, start to become quiet in your midst.  You’re now noticing the ones who once called you “friend,” are now moving away from your inner circle.   Still confused as to why?  People who hold themselves in high esteem, are smart enough to know that you can quickly be tagged as “the company you keep,” and I’ve never once heard that reference used in a good way. These people, professionals who care about their reputations, do not want to be aligned with amateurs who are clearly not in their league, nor are they on the same level.  I personally, tend to quickly move away from people who display such volatile and indecent behavior, as you just never know what they’ll do next.   When it’s displayed once, once is enough for me.  {Note to readers:  I’m the lady who believes what people show me … not so much what they tell me}.

As I wrap things up here, my advice to you is this: Think before you speak and think even harder before you act, lest you do or say something which you might regret later.  If, in the past, you have found yourself guilty of any form of public juvenile behavior, you can still turn things around, if you work hard enough.  Your online reputation is and should be, just as important as your reputation in the real world.  Let what yours say about you, be a true reflection of who you are and how you want to be perceived and received.  And, when others are behaving at a level that you would never stoop to, please, decline their invitation to that party.  There are some who have nothing better to do but spend their time “attempting” to bring others down and ruin lives, and that’s because their lives are so sad, they can’t stand the thought of others living in happy-land.  (FYI, Nonnie is the Mayor of Happy-land – just in case anyone wants to move closer to me … LOL)

What does your online reputation say about you? Is it reputable or is it deplorable?  What do you think others are saying about you, based on this kind of reputation?  We’d love to hear from you via the comments below.

Thanks for stopping by!

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt.

~Anonymous

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14 thoughts on “#AUTHORS, WHAT’S YOUR ONLINE REPUTATION AND DO YOU EVEN CARE? #RRBC #RWISA”

  1. Great post, Nonnie! I, too, have seen professionals use their platform to spread misinformation or negative/biased information, and it saddens me. I believe our author platforms should focus on professionalism and spreading the enjoyment of reading. Personal opinions should be shared on personal platforms. Unfortunately, many authors haven’t separated the two.

    I am a huge believer in energy, and I also focus on making sure that the energy I put forth into the world is one of compassion, respect, acceptance, and love. It’s why my Instagram focuses on books, family, and mindfulness. It’s why my Twitter focuses on sharing information about authors and books. It’s why my professional Facebook page focuses on books and positive information. Even on my personal FB page, I try to focus on sharing things that will make others smile, though there are times that I tackle strong subjects with more intensity. I refuse to get into a back and forth spat with someone, no matter how much they try to drag me in.

    As a child, I heard the phrase, “Kill them with kindness,” and it stuck with me. I am always polite. I state facts and respect the idea that others have opinions different from mine. I honor their space for they are on their own journey and must learn their lessons on their own. And I focus on continuously working on myself to be the best version of myself possible. I cannot control others’ opinions of me, but I can control how I treat others and what energy I share with the world. That’s what I focus on.

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    1. Hi, John P! You are so right. I hope those reading this (especially those of the elderly persuasion who should be setting examples for the younger generation), will stand in front of a mirror and reflect upon their poor behavior. I am always appalled when I see someone my elder (and I’m no spring chicken, mind you) behaving outside the realm of dignified conduct. There are many online who I have encountered who are deserving of the utmost respect because their actions are dignified, “professional,” and respectful; and then there are those others who I can only shake my head at and say, “Sadly, they are someone’s grandparent/great-grandparent.” In everything I do and say, I always want my children and grandchildren to be proud to say, “That is my mom/my grandmother!” Unfortunately, holding such high positions doesn’t mean as much to some as it does to others.

      Thanks for chiming in, John, and HAPPY PARENT’S DAY tomorrow!

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  2. This is such a relevant and timely post, Nonnie. My main goal in life is to be known as a kind person. Sometimes that kindness can be perceived as weakness and it’s those situations I move quickly away from. The scenario you described above between the two women is deplorable. What kind of example does that set for their children, their grandchildren? It’s unacceptable on any level, whether physical or virtual. If I cannot say something positive on social media, then I won’t say anything at all. That’s my motto. Thank you for bringing some attention to this subject! Much needed in our crazy world!

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  3. An excellent and timely post, Nonnie! These are very tough times indeed with so much fear inspired by COVID-19 and the frustration of being locked down for weeks as a result of that fear. These circumstances don’t excuse poor behaviour online or in-person and we all, authors or not, need to remember that human decency demands self-control. It is tragic that those trolls who revel in dividing people along political, religious, and racial lines are using the current fear and frustration to goad many others to act poorly. I hope all authors who read your words will take them to heart and just walk away from the online trolls.

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    1. Thanks for chiming in, John F.! We do know that the RRBC community is “highly-trolled” and we also know who’s trolling us! They just can’t stay away, it seems! Happy Parent’s Day tomorrow!

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    1. Joy, one thing I will never do is to get into a war of words with anyone – especially when I know that the person who’s looking for the war doesn’t actually realize that I am a war they cannot win 🙂 In those moments it wouldn’t even be a fair fight so I tend to just move away from the ignorance. There is a time to speak and there is a time to hold your tongue. Only maturity will know the appropriate hour for each.

      #Quote: “Do not mistake my silence for fear. Accept it as growth, but, if I were you, I wouldn’t push too hard.” ~Nonnie Jules

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