A network engineer was telling me he doesn't spend a lot of time with social networking sites because he's cautious about putting his personal information on the Internet. He's a smart, if careful, man. Is he missing out on something? After all, social networking is all about raising your visibility, meaning increasing the reputation you enjoy out there in the job market. On his blog, Louis Gray mulls this over. Among other things, he asks:

What Does Reputation Get You?

"Technically, reputation is one of those 'investment' items that does not have a direct return," says Gray.

However, your reputation may get you that interview you wanted. It may not get you the job directly, but it may get your foot in the door. If you get into the freelancing business, much of your initial contacts will likely be due to your reputation as well. Similar to your education though, it is something that needs 'care and feeding.' It does not go on autopilot, it is something that needs to be steered through various obstacles. How you handle these obstacles in your career directly affects your reputation, as well as your success.

Is Reputation More Important Than it Used to Be?

Reputation has always been important, however the area of importance is changing. Before the Internet, reputation may have been critical to getting the sale or a new job. Now, your reputation can be seen and tested every day by your social media activity and your blogging. The management of your reputation is now of critical importance. You just need to look at the various situations that 'went viral' or took on a life of their own.

And, finally:

Welcome To The Reputation Economy

Reputation is now worth almost as much as revenue. FriendFeed the perfect example of this. The reputation of the team is stellar. Because Paul Buchheit has a fantastic resume and has had great success, when he says real-time conversation is the next big thing, people are listening. Because he works for FriendFeed, people are watching FriendFeed closely. To compare the effect of reputation, look at me. I have a decent reputation in social media circles, but if I said that real-time conversation was the next big thing (without Paul saying it of course), I might get a link from another blog or two. That could even be the end of the conversation. So, never underestimate the power of reputation because it may be as important as actual currency.

-- Sonia R. Lelii