We no longer need a press release and the media to spread a story or our point of view. We control our own media now. But that also puts us on the same level as any celebrity.
Some embarrassing posts are innocent, such as the one discussed by the writer in this Mashable piece. Others can be intentional, and downright nasty. If you are the recipient of one of the latter posts, then this Patrick Di Justo story for The Atlantic will give you pause for hope. It means if you consistently post what you want the world to see on a regular basis, then eventually, the ugly Internet post gets silenced.
Anyone can post anything on the Internet and in social networks, even libelous, hateful comments meant to destroy a person’s credibility or business. Once it is out there, unless the owner of the site agrees, and without a court-order (website owners are many times the ones making the posts) the likelihood is slim you can get the post removed. Then it comes down to — do you have the time and the money to spend months of energy and lawyers’ visits to create a libel lawsuit and fight for your reputation?
Being a member of the Internet society means you get to experience similar venom that you see with the likes of Justin Bieber, Nickelback, and name the celebrity. Knowing this should give you pause when you see a nasty post online in a Google search that is incongruent with the rest of the posts listed under that person’s name. Just know this: none of us are immune. However, Internet thought leader Erik Qualman says it is all right if there are a couple of ugly posts out there — it means you are human. Still, it doesn’t make it any easier for you to see them.
The less attention you give to the ugly Internet posts, the better. Unless it is through your lawyer once you’ve made a case file, never engage the creator of the post, either. Keep creating content and work business as usual. The ugly post really says more about the person who posted it than it does you. Don’t surrender your control by letting the negative energy consume you.
Because of the effort required to eradicate a venomous post, it is why you don’t see many celebrities suing the tabloids for erroneous content. It is just unfortunate that the toxic content is what some of the public chooses to believe.
These ugly Internet posts are not only made by some hater who wants to make your life miserable. We’ve seen examples of unvetted stories go viral, only to be retracted long after the damage is done. The best example of this is from the Boston bombing.
If something sounds salacious, check around to see if it is only one post. Also check to see if it is the same written or video story spread over multiple networks. That may be a sign that it is iffy regarding the truth. It’s also good to know when a post turns libelous so that, from this moment forward, you check yourself at the keyboard.