Maybe it should be called Uncivilized

Everything you find on the Internet is true.


Everyone is personally responsible for their online behavior.


I wish, but alas, either one is far from true.

I understand it's considered a best practice to have both brand representation and personal representation online when it comes to brand management, social media marketing and recruiting for your company.

But I'm not so sure that's a best practice for me anymore. Yes, we have the HRmarketer and SeniorCareMarketer Twitter accounts and Facebook pages and LinkedIn groups; you also know who we are because we're online for God and everyone to see.

I have a personal issue with those who insist on anonymity and/or hide behind a brand or imaginative avatar. Anonymity breeds bullying and slander, and unless you're a whistle blower, a secret Santa or shopper, or in the FBI witness protection program -- t's more like you have a few drinks, put a bag over your head and jump online to attack.

Loose lips sink ships, Jack.

Anonymity is cowardice, and with incivility seemingly on the rise online and in the workplace, launching new services that allow for unchecked and unverified personal/professional reviews doesn't sound like the best use of development time to me.

However I feel about it, Unvarnished is alive and well in private beta.

Unvarnished is an online resource for building, managing, and researching professional reputation.

Unvarnished reviews are community-contributed, business-focused assessments of professional performance.

The tagline reads: truth in reputation.

Unfortunately reviews of you and others are anonymous and moderated only by the greater community, and whether they like you or not affects the kind of reviews you'll get. I mean, I don't even like the fact that you can anonymously review products, services, restaurants, hotels, you name it. I'm not even sure about sites like Glassdoor anymore that allow for anonymous posts.

I'm calling out Unvarnished only because I saw them profiled on the Today Show yesterday and it unsettled me.

Anonymity may protect you against potential repercussions of your honesty, but it doesn't protect me and my privacy from the repercussions of your bullying slander.

The dichotomous nature of relationship building and personal/professional brand should be synonymous with the very tenants of social media and networking:

You don't have to like me to have worked with me or for me, but there's a big difference between confronting me directly or via human resources when you feel I've treated you poorly, given you an unfair performance review or harassed you in any way without just cause (of which it's debatable there ever is just cause to harass), and posting hateful untruths or half truths about me online.

Am I just being too cynical this morning? Usually I have more faith in humanity, but when it comes to a service that welcomes anonymity and allows for possible slanderous posts about me and my company -- unsubstantiated -- instead of being called Unvarnished, maybe it should be called Uncivilized. I do wish them the best of luck, though.

Own your opinionated behavior, kids. Online and off. Just sayin'.

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Post by Kevin W. Grossman (join me on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn - and now join HRmarketer on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn!)

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