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Digital halo: Strategies for building online personal reputations
Executives and entrepreneurs have traditionally built their personal reputation through non-scalable offline activities such as giving speeches and publishing books. However, the internet and social media have made it possible to build substantial personal reputations principally or exclusively through online means. Most reputation-building principles that apply to the offline world also apply online. However, the networked nature of the web makes online reputation building unique. While there are frameworks that explain how firms may develop their corporate reputation, there is very little literature on how individuals may develop their reputation online. Using a purposive sample and qualitative content analysis, this paper analyses content about (or by) 30 individuals who have built substantial online personal reputations. This exploratory study proposes a framework for executives to build a personal reputation online. It shows that by combining spiking and sustaining strategies with the building blocks of content, credibility, community and/or controversy (the ‘4 Cs’), executives and entrepreneurs may start to create online reputations for themselves.
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