No, I won't cover up your dirt online. No matter how much you pay me.

When you hear the terms “online reputation management” or “crisis management” what comes to mind?

Is it positive?


Did “spin master”, “cover up artist” or “media manipulator” come to mind?

Terms like this are frequently used when describing the work of a public relations professional.

And to be fair, this is true of some.

But not all.

Last year I was approached for an ORM (online reputation management) job that I decisively turned down after doing my due diligence.

With a price tag of roughly $10K per month, some might say that I was crazy.

This person had over 25 convictions - not accusations, but convictions - against them including drug trafficking, wrongful termination of employees, unpaid wages to employees, non-compliance. Besides the professional wrongs, there was also a laundry list of personal accolades, with which I strongly disagreed, many rooted in misogyny, including cheating on his spouse, among others. This man had a pattern of behaviour of getting close to women, manipulating them to try and gain control (typically financially) and then exploiting them.


I think that the desire to be adored online stems from a deeper rooted psychological issue perpetuated by social media culture.

We obsess over how many people follow us, we disregard fact in exchange for, we believe likes, we assume likes are a metric of truth, we forfeit our privacy and overshare for a few cheap likes, and we validate our self worth by the number of people who click a button on a screen, we bend over backwards for a few strangers who would otherwise wouldn’t remember your birthday if it wasn’t for a Facebook reminder.

Why are we living like this? Why are we doing this to ourselves?


I could use “growth hacks” to grow my Instagram following, or buy a bunch of fake followers from another country, or I could pimp myself out to get more views on my content… but why?

Seriously. Why?

To be seen as a “thought leader”? To be viewed as an “influencer”? So I can get a bunch of unwanted DM’s from strangers with an unwarranted opinion about me?

Are we so vain (and frankly, idiotic) as to measure someone’s true vale by the number of followers they have, or the number of likes on their photos?

How many intelligent, kind, creative people are discredited because of their “low” fan base?

This shit doesn’t matter.

When you strip away the filters, the content schedule and the Lightroom pre-sets, who are YOU?

Who are you beyond all of that, really?

Who are you outside of social media? Who do you have face-to-face interactions with? Who shows up for you, in the flesh, when you need them? Who would you still be friends with if social media ceased to exist? Who picks up the phone and calls you on your birthday?

Because that’s all that really matters.