Lifestyle Blog from the Philippines

Friday, April 2, 2021

Play Taylor Swift's Reputation Here

The word reputation is defined as the “belief or opinions that are generally held about someone or something.” To put it simply, it is about what other people think of a person, thing, place, group, or business. In these times where most (if not all) of us make use of social media, we all have, whether we like it or not, our own images or reputations based on our social media profiles. It could also be the title of a Taylor Swift song (and the album it was included in).



We live in times where things you say or do can come back to you in a negative way (see my previous post on cancel culture), so a lot of people are incredibly careful about how they present themselves not just in the real world but (and most especially) online as well. My mother’s most oft-repeated sentence fits into this whole idea: “What would people think?”

Just like my thoughts about cancel culture, I am conflicted about the importance/relevance of a person’s reputation, particularly one based on social media. I like that we can share bits and pieces of ourselves online and build our own personal brand (which seems to be a thing these days, whether you have an online/media-related career or not). But the thought that always comes to mind for me is that what we show on social media is not what we are all about. There is so much more of us that people do not see because we only show parts of ourselves that we are willing to share. For those in careers where their online brands make up a big part of how they make money, their reputations are built on carefully curated content, sometimes to the point where that content may not be as real as what they present it to be online.

To me, it is a question of what one’s reputation is and just how real is that reputation that we build for ourselves. It is like, for example, a person who wants to present herself as having a lovely home where she makes it a point to clean and decorate constantly even if nobody visits. She does it just in case someone does. It is a reputation she wants to maintain. 

While I would not recommend obsessing over something just because you are worried about what other people would think, I have to admit that is more consistent compared to someone who would have a similar reputation purely for social media. 

A person can have that reputation of having a beautiful home by presenting photos or videos of a home that may or may not actually be real. What is online could be a rented home, or it could be parts of a home cleaned up specifically for content.  It makes me think about how much we value a person’s reputation based on what we see online even when we do not know if it is real. Even when we know that so many do not present what is real.

Personally, I find it difficult to be the kind of person who makes an effort to maintain a certain reputation with other people. Life can already be difficult as it is that it feels like an additional burden for me to make a conscious effort to try to be acceptable in other people’s eyes. Given that you cannot really please everyone, I think that it is just too much work. It would be too stressful and exhausting.

For the most part, I would rather do the best I can with whatever situation life throws my way and hope for the best. It will not always be perfect (nothing ever is), but if I feel that my conscience is clear and I am not purposely doing anything to harm anyone else, that would be enough. I used to feel the need to have to explain myself to other people, but I later realized that is not the right way to live. In any case, I am only concerned about this if it were something that would do great harm to me and the people that I love.

As far as online curation of content goes, I must admit that actively doing so is something that I have tried at one point. It takes a lot of work, and I admire those people who do it because it takes a lot of planning apart from the execution of it all. As interesting as it is, I think it is not for me. If online content creation becomes my means of making a living, then maybe I will reconsider but for now, the most I am willing to do is curate content to maintain some semblance of privacy despite having a public online presence.

As relevant as it can be to build one’s reputation, it is how we see ourselves at the end of the day that I feel is most important. If we can live with ourselves and accept the person we see when we look in the mirror, that is the only time we can be ready to face what other people think of us. 

Although when I think about it, should we live according to what would please other people instead of what we want to do for ourselves?

Just something to think about. 


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