Fight or Flight: Avoiding Negative Company Responses 0

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The web is a dangerous, unforgiving environment, full of people lurking over your every move waiting for the opportune moment to pounce. You may be making all the right choices in your online business but the nitpicker will be the nitpicker and something you do or say will offend someone to the point that they […]


Source: Online Rep Management

The Public Figure Doctrine And The Internet 0

 

 

In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes. – Andy Warhol

 

In the future, everyone will be world-famous to 15 people. –Momus

 

No one can dispute that the Internet has changed the world as we know it. From the ways in which we communicate with each other, to the ways in which we access information and make decisions, every aspect of our lives is to some extent governed by the Internet. This technological wonder has greatly enhanced our lives, and it has created some complexities that Andy Warhol could never have imagined when he uttered his famous words in 1968. One of these complexities is the application of legal principles to the Internet. And one area of law where jurists need to provide further guidance is the public figure doctrine as it applies to people and activities on the Web. My purpose in writing this post is not to provide a comprehensive discussion of these issues, but hopefully it serves as a good start to anyone who’s interested in this area.

A preliminary and potentially significant issue in every defamation action is whether the plaintiff is a public figure. This is because public figures are held to a higher standard of proof than private individuals. Indeed, the standard is so high that few public individuals are able to meet it.

There are two different kinds of public figures: the all-purpose public figure, and the limited purpose public figure. The all-purpose public figure is one who has achieved such pervasive fame or notoriety that he or she becomes a public figure in all contexts (think Michael Jordan or Oprah). The limited purpose public figure is an individual who voluntarily injects him or herself or is drawn into a specific public controversy, thereby becoming a public figure on a limited number of issues. In most cases there are no facts to suggest that the plaintiff is in all–purpose public figure. Therefore, typically the fight is over whether the plaintiff is a limited purpose public figure.

California courts have adopted a 3-part test to determine whether a plaintiff is a limited purpose public figure. First, there must be a public controversy. This means that the controversy was debated publicly and had substantial ramifications for nonparticipants. Second, the plaintiff must have undertaken some voluntary act through which he or she sought to influence resolution of the public issue. In this regard, it is enough that the plaintiff “attempt to thrust him or herself into the public eye.” And finally, the alleged defamation must be germane or relevant to the plaintiff’s participation in controversy.

So what exactly is a public controversy and how might that be applied to the Internet? In one case, the court wrote: “A public controversy is not simply a matter of interest to the public; it must be a real dispute, the outcome of which affects the general public or some segment of it in an appreciable way.” “Courts must exercise care in deciding what is a public controversy.” “To determine whether a controversy indeed existed and, if so, to define its contours, the judge must examine whether persons actually were discussing some specific question.”

So how should courts handle this issue in light of the fact that people debate all kinds of issues on the Internet? In other words, what is a “public controversy?” Unfortunately, California courts have done very little to flesh out this concept, and so it remains to be seen what qualifies as a public controversy. However, courts should make clear that private disputes should not be interpreted as public controversy solely because the purported dispute draws attention from the public. Stated another way, private beefs or disagreements do not become public controversies simply because they gain attention. Otherwise, one could argue that every business that is listed on Yelp.com that has customer reviews is embroiled in a public controversy.

A second an important issue is the level of the alleged public figure’s voluntary involvement in the controversy. In fact, voluntariness appears to be one of the most important elements in determining whether someone is a public figure. For example, issuing press releases and posting letters to a website was enough for one court to find that the plaintiff had inserted itself into a public controversy. And in another case, the fact that plaintiff had invited media attention for a commitment ceremony and posted information about that ceremony on a website was sufficient to make the plaintiff a limited purpose public figure. But what about situations where the “voluntary involvement” only happens on the Internet and is only disseminated to a limited number of people? There are scores of people who write tweets or post comments on forums about the issues of the day. How should the law treat those? We need more published decisions in this area.
 

 

 

 

 


Source: Adrianos Facchetti

How Google Authorship Markup can build your Reputation as a Thought Leader 0

If you want to take your reputation from good to great, becoming known as a thought leader is a powerful way to do it. In addition to championing progress and innovation in their fields, thought leaders constantly create new content, especially online, that not only demonstrates their expertise but also shares valuable cutting-edge insight about their industry.

Google Authorship markup is currently one of the best ways to develop your position as an expert and thought leader. By verifying you as the author of your content and making it easy for your audience to access everything you publish, Authorship markup gives you an instant credibility boost and provides a platform for your thought leadership.

There are 3 ways using Google Authorship markup helps you build your reputation as a thought leader:

  1. Verifies you as the author

  2. Links together all your online content

  3. Improves your visibility online

Verified Author Status

Being recognized as the author of exceptional content is the first step to becoming a thought leader. After all, if no one realizes that amazing guest article on a high-profile site is yours, does it really do you any good?

Authorship markup connects your name and face to your content. It shows Google that you are willing to put your name on the line for what you create, and it shows searchers that you are an authority in your field. It destroys anonymity online so you can claim your opinions, research, and other content, and all the reactions they inspire.

Linked Content

Once your audience starts recognizing your name, they want easy access to everything you publish so they can stay up-to-date on the most current predictions, trends, research, and innovation in your field.

Authorship markup follows you around the web and links all your content together on your Google+ profile. This way, it doesn’t matter where you published your latest article. Your audience can quickly and easily find it right on your profile. All your content in one place builds your reputation as a thought leader by showing how prolific of a writer you are. The more you write, the more of an expert you must be.

Improved Visibility

Closely related to verified author status, improved visibility helps more people recognize your name and makes you more relevant and credible. Authorship markup helps you become more visible by providing a rich snippet search result with your photo, name, and links to your Google+ profile and other content.

These richer listings make you stand out from other search results. The more often your content appears in search, the more your audience will recognize your name, face, and leadership in your field. Richer search results have the added benefit of higher click-through rates, so your content gets more traffic, too.

A verified author profile, linked content, and improved visibility all help you establish your reputation as a thought leader by building trust and conveying authority. Your name, photo, and profile all indicate you are real human being, not some SEO robot, which builds trust. Your follower count and number of +1s on Google+ provide social proof that you are an expert worth following, which builds authority.

And the more exceptional content you publish, the more of a thought leader Authorship helps you become.


Source: Big Blue Robot