Character is a like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it the tree is the real thing, Abraham Lincoln. Reputation is a huge part of our day to day lives as human beings. A persons reputation is the profile others have of that person pieced together from information they have received about the persons behaviours. Reputation is equally as important now as it has been throughout all human history. However the concept has changed significantly as now it has many different dimensions, it is more flexible yet it is inescapable due to social media.Order now
Fundamentally though our reputation still determines the way our lives turn out and who we become the same as it did for all of human existence. In todays society a persons reputation has many different aspects. In past centuries how a person was respected was completely based on whether they abided by the strict moral codes and fitted the stereotypes of society. The close knit communities meant all aspects of their reputation were viewed together. Now however due to our wider communities and social circles different parts of who we are possess different importance depending on the nature of the relationship.
Our larger communities also mean that everyone only knows particular aspects of who we are, and professional life can be separate from personal life. These days different aspects of reputation possess different importance for different parts of our lives, however generally society puts more emphasis on professional reputation as in the large world we live in this is the main way we can be recognised. As there is not such a strict stereotype we must abide by our reputations are more flexible. We have developed a culture that acknowledges people make mistakes, and learn from them this means there is less secrecy and more acceptance.
An example is Judith Collins, who got pregnant as a teenager, was on the benefit and in previous centuries would have been turned her back on, but nowadays even with her past reputation is now a minister in parliament. The different aspects and in a sense deposable state of our reputation means it is more flexible though it still defines us in the same way it did centuries ago. If anything the different aspects give us more power to create a positive reputation, giving the whole concept more weight. On the contrary while reputation has gained has become more flexible it has also become much more fragile.
Social media and worldwide communication has meant when a person gains a reputation it is impossible to escape it. In past times by leaving a town a person could escape what they had done and what they were known for. Yet now everything a person has done is stored or documented for the world to access. What people do when they are a teenager, they can be judged on for the rest of their lives. This is a very concerning concept especially considering that as a teenager or young adult people want others to think of them very differently than a person does when they are forty.
A photo that was once an attempt at popularity could come back and haunt us and limit our opportunities. In a matter of seconds we can add a dimension to peoples picture of us, this gives us power to change our reputation but also the power to blacken it very quickly. Social medias impact on the spreading of our reputation can have fatal consequences. Charlotte Dawson, a famous celebrity television personality is a key example after receiving abuse from the media and on her twitter decided to leave Australia and fled to New Zealand. However her negative publicity meant people already had their minds made up about her.
After retreating back to Australia and receiving more abuse she eventually killed herself because of the mindset people had formed about her. The interconnected society and social media in place in this day in age means reputation is more fragile and possesses more importance than ever. The impact of losing our reputations is still as damaging as it was fifty years ago. Our reputation determines the opportunities we receive, how people treat us and consequently how we treat and feel about ourselves. By committing acts that damage our reputation we significantly alter what jobs we can receive.
For example by getting arrested a person limits where they can work, if they have a dream of becoming a police officer but have been arrested they cannot fulfil this dream. How we feel about ourselves is essentially one of the most important parts of our existence, our self belief and self esteem alone decides whether we will succeed. Other peoples perception of us is probably the biggest deciding factor in how we feel towards ourselves, and this is determined solely on our reputation. In this country particularly in teenagers our reputation among the people we care about means everything to us.
Imagine wandering through a school where the only thing anyone sees is slut or freak, it is easy to believe when you dont know who you are yourself. When a person does something that shocks, that dimension of their picture dominates everything else, and it is all people see. An example of this is Rolf Harris, he spent a lifetime building a reputation as a family entertainer but after being accused of molesting children that is all he will be associated with and remembered for whether he is found guilty or not his reputation will be forever tarnished.
In past centuries such as the puritan days in early America reputation was a life or death affair, if you didnt have a good name you would be accused of dealing with the devil and hung. Although in this country we cannot be killed due to our reputation it can still ruin our lives, dim our own self respect and in extreme examples even kill us. Reputation is an important part of how we as humans interact, feel and how we define ourselves. Over generations reputation has evolved, has different emphasis on different aspects and is in the hands of social media.
However ultimately reputation still possesses the same importance in our lives as it ever has. The same idea still remains that it takes a lifetime to build a reputation and a moment to lose it. The only way to get rid of a reputation is by changing the significance of various aspects by building different pictures in peoples minds, but essentially people dont forget. Reputation is one of the few things that will always possess huge importance in who we are no matter how much our society evolves, we are humans and we will always have a picture built up of other people in our minds. Reputation has and always will be a huge aspect in our lives.