Reputation Management

August 31, 2011

One of the things I like about working with Ian McDonald is that I can throw him a curve ball and he doesn’t blink.

Instead of looking at me like I’m mad – which is the usual reaction – he understands what I’m talking about.

So I when I showed him the above diagram the other day and said “What is this saying to you?”, he said immediately, “You’ve been reading about the Romans”.

Indeed I have.

 “Rubicon” by Tom Holland to be exact.

From which I learned this fact.

To the Romans a man’s moral excellence and his reputation were exactly the same thing, and they had the same word for both: “Honestas”.

In social media people spend a lot of time honing and managing an online reputation. They present a polished face to the world

The “Nick Reynolds” on twitter is a version of me. How big is the gap between the “integrity” of the twitter me and the “reputation” of the twitter me? Or is there no gap?

Institutions employ teams of people to hone and manage their reputation and present a polished face to the world.  How big is the gap between the moral excellence of the institution (but which I mean its behaviour and moral codes) and its reputation?

Despite all the evidence before my own eyes to the contrary, I still cling (albeit wearily) to the belief that the best way to manage your reputation is to tell the truth.

The public seem to like the BBC for the fact that it tells the truth. Therefore it has to tell the truth about itself, even when that’s inconvenient. Telling the truth has to include allowing all sides of an argument to be heard, even when that’s inconvenient.


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