Battling the Bullies–Using Audio for Internet Reputation Management
Note: Good writers visualize their readers. I see a women/girl being the victim of internet bullies posting photos or salacious stories on Facebook and related social sites. This article is for her.
There was an article in the New York Times addressing reputation management. The fundamental question was neutralizing negative articles or blog posts or photographs that affect careers and personal lives.
Aggrieved people can contact online publications and ask for them to remove the offending items. They can also employ reputation management organizations to monitor and manage negative news.
But the bottom-line is that the internet never forgets. It’s impossible to erase everything but it is possible to create lots of new material and use key words to push the offending material down as far as possible in search results.
I make no claim to be a reputation management expert as to “fixing” negative materials on the Internet. There are companies that do this on a full-time basis.
But what I do know is that, regardless as to how hard you try, negative materials live forever on the net.
But instead of these materials coming up on the first or second page of a search for your name, it’s possible to create “new” materials to push the negative stuff as far down as possible.
Audio Interviews are the Fastest Way to Create Content:
The best (quickest) way to do this is through transcribed audio interviews (word-for word accounts of what was said during audio interviews).
Audio interviews and transcripts would be added to a website and indexed by Google. Google and other search engines index written words (transcripts); the audio interviews create another layer.
Create enough of them with key words (like the name of the victim) and this is what search engines find first. Place them on a variety of websites and the effect is compounded.
Do enough and you knock the offending materials to the back of searches. It’s possible to totally eliminate them from the first ten pages of a search depending on the level of the problem and the ability of detractors to develop new material.
It’s a Matter of Productivity:
Writing is hard and complex work and the process of creating audio interviews with the victim about her life, hobbies, religion, thoughts, beliefs, education, vacations, life history, parents, or other topics creates a lot of content quickly. Having first-hand accounts of the victim adds authenticity and believability and adds to her image. Every transcribed audio recording can be broken down into chapters and individual articles. One recording could be the basis for 20 articles.
Needless-to-say, the recordings need to be guided by a skilled interviewer; they would be positive accounts. The interviewer would make sure she did not reveal more than intended.
Yes, it’s a shame that the victim needs to make her life more public them she intended and it would be difficult to do while distraught but she would be in complete control of the products with veto power over anything that troubles her.
She may find that the final products flattering; a way of taking a tough situation and making it better. She may be empowered; it provides some control over her life. She’s not a helpless victim. She can fight back.
It Won’t Work for Everyone:
This strategy won’t work as well for the person generating extensive negative publicity. There’s just no way to keep pace with hundreds or thousands of articles and blog reports.
Some sites (i.e., news organizations) are well optimized in search rankings so it will be difficult to knock these articles down in searches.
Having a common or unusual name complicates things a bit; there are thousands of Mary Smith’s but few with my name.
But if it’s Bullies:
But if the attackers are local bullies using Facebook and other social sites to post unflattering accounts or photographs, the strategy can be effective as to search (what you find using the victim’s name in Google). If they post the internet address (URL) of the offending materials it makes it difficult to combat.
Victims should report the issue to law enforcement immediately and they (and the victim’s attorney) should contact the social media sites with take-down orders as soon as possible.
But for the victim who wants to keep photographs and negative stories as hard to find as possible, it’s an good way to minimize the problem.
Note that search engines are just beginning to index social sites. This adds an entirely new dimension with unknown outcomes and possibilities.
I look forward to your opinions.
New York Times article, see: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE1D91030F930A35757C0A9679D8B63&ref=nickbilton .
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