I still remember when I was a kid, if I was unsure about the lyrics of a song and I totally misheard them, there was no real way for me to verify them. So, I’d go about my days and weeks and years, singing along with totally the wrong words. For the longest time, I thought that they were saying “psychosomatic, Alan Kinzane” in “Breathe” by The Prodigy, wondering to myself who this Alan Kinzane fellow was.
Finding Correct Information
I remember playing “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego” on the computers at school when I was younger too. I remember having to locate the world almanac somewhere in the classroom so I could find out which country had “lira” as its currency. If I wanted to find a book at the library, I had to go through a physical card file, and the “facts” in that book could easily be over a decade old.
And then the Internet arrived and evolved, and it changed everything forever. These days, we have practically all of human knowledge from practically across all of human history literally at our fingertips. No more misheard lyrics or arguing over trivial facts, because all of that is solved with a quick Google search or with a visit to the Wikipedia page. But there’s a problem with that, because the gate keepers to information aren’t really there anymore.
But Who Said It?
Anyone can have a voice on the Internet, which is good. But it is also bad, because it means that a lot of misinformation can be spread too. You’ve probably heard the term “fake news” tossed around a lot recently. The vast majority of people take what they read online at face value, judging it first by who actually said or wrote it. The reputation of the person or publication supersedes the actual information itself.
Italian philosopher and tenured senior researcher Gloria Origgi calls this “the reputation age,” saying how it is effectively the successor to the “information age” from the early days of the Internet. Even if you have your facts straight and you present a compelling argument, if you don’t have the reputation to back it up, no one is going to listen. No one is going to care. And no one is going to believe you.
So, what does this all mean for you?
You Know Who I Am
As a blogger and an Internet marketer, you need to be paying very careful attention to your reputation. It is very much tied into your credibility, which in turn is very much tied into your potential for success. You need to amass as much social currency as you possibly can so that your words hold weight. When your words hold weight, you can leverage that weight for additional opportunities.
And these additional opportunities, like speaking engagements, lend themselves to putting more dollars in your pocket. When you recommend a product on your blog, through your YouTube channel, on social media or anywhere else, if you have a strong reputation, people are more likely to follow through on your recommendation (and generate an affiliate commission for you as a result).
So, You’re an Expert?
This is why it’s more important than ever that you work toward establishing yourself as a trusted and reputable authority in your industry or niche. You want other people to see you immediately as the go-to expert. Your reputation will precede you and that’s far more powerful than being an unknown.
There are many ways to build up this kind of online street cred. You can self-publish a book, because being a published author commands a certain level of respect. And here’s the curious thing that you may have noticed even with John over the years. The more prominent reputation you earn and the larger your audience grows, the more prominent your reputation becomes and the larger your audience grows too. Success builds upon success.
Facts are important. But so is your reputation.