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  • Personal Brands: You Texted Who?

    My very good friend and client, who is a major lawyer in a mega law firm, celebrated her birthday last weekend – really celebrated it. With a dozen equally hot, smart and funny women in a limo, cruising from club to club, she rang in her personal new year getting smashed. She was ripe for it, since she is almost always the designated driver.

    What happens in text, doesn’t always stay only on your phone

    Who knew this typically suited up, buttoned down professional could ride a mechanical bull that way? Who knew she was a former gymnast and could easily ace the can-you-pole-dance challenge?

    She used her smart phone to help those of us who couldn’t make it, enjoy the show. She captured her hi-jinks in photos, and texted them with a hysterical running commentary of what she was doing – and what she was thinking.

    Smart phones are not so smart

    Unfortunately, it turned out she really wasn’t thinking. And, the phone? Turned out it isn’t so smart.

    Guess who got the texts, along with her inner circle, the crowd of would-be revelers rooting her on? A client.

    Enough said.

    Did you have that sinking feeling in your stomach? Have you done it? Join the crowd.

    Personal brands: the smart phone is a weapon of self-destruction.

    So many of us have been DWT – drunk while texting, there’s a new website that’s becoming a Wikipedia of oops-by-text.


    To contribute your personal favorites: Text TFLN

    In a kind of drunken-texters anonymous, you may now report on yourself, or any one of your contacts. You’ll be contributing to a community that sinned in the same way or been on the receiving end of a sinful text.

    There’s not yet a phone app to stop you from betraying yourself, but there is something for the nights when you are drunk with your laptop. It’s Webroot’s new Firefox plugin called “The Social Media Sobriety Test.” The service is aptly described by its tagline, “Nothing good happens online after 1 a.m.”

    Before you can Facebook or Tumblr away your dignity, the service intervenes with a short test – like typing the alphabet backwards – to block or unblock your access to your reputation. Undoubtedly, we are just a short while away from a mobile app.

    The reputation app

    From my fiefdom of business communication, I hope the next killer app will scan our texts and emails for anger, stupidity and any other “quality” we’d like to keep from contaminating our personal brand images.  Won’t it be great to have a “suggest changes” function that proposes phrases that instantly transform rude into concerned, and dumb into curious? Way more valuable than spell check.

    Until then, figure out a method – maybe the old sleep on it before you send it – to act as your thought police.

    Nance Rosen is the author of Speak Up! & Succeed. She speaks to business audiences around the world and is a resource for press, including print, broadcast and online journalists and bloggers covering social media and careers.

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    Posted in Personal Branding, Reputation Management, Social Media
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