Social Media Taking Over The Role of Publicist

What do you do when you’re a well-known media figure (with apparently no publicist or babysitter) and you accidentally post an embarrassing almost-nude photo of yourself all over the Internet? Well you delete it of course…only to realize that whatever ends up on the Internet will forever be immortalized, sorry Geraldo Rivera.

When Geraldo posted his nearly nude “selfie” on July 21, 2013 it seemed that nothing really had been done to his “image” as a media personality except for several –thousand- people criticizing his body and how creepy he was on Twitter. That was up until today when the story hit that his “selfie” had some unusual consequences in the form of cancelled events. That one photo was the reason that Duquesne University cancelled Geraldo’s appearance at the school due to the fact that the photo was “inappropriate and inconsistent” with the Catholic school’s values. Funny to think that a simple photo can ruin everything, but it sadly is true and it’s happening more than ever in today’s society of social media and instant gratification.

We are currently living in an age where everyone is acting as his or her own publicist in a way. Individuals  are creating versions of themselves on the World Wide Web and not thoroughly thinking about the consequences. It has even been said that when job hunting, employers will not only Google but look up their potential employees on Facebook as well as Twitter to see how they truly portray themselves. We all need to take a moment to step back and realize that we are venturing into the marketing realm for ourselves as a brand whether we would like to see it that way or not.

So why is Geraldo Rivera relevant to this? Because he is us! He is every person who has posted something whether in writing or in photo form on the Internet only to regret it and realize that there are no “take-backs” online. So next time we decide to post that photo of us having a wild drunk fun night, let’s step back and realize that today the biggest thing we are marketing is ourselves (which is a huge deal considering the job market –or rather lack thereof!) and only we can act as our own reps. Value yourself as a brand and human being. Keep some things private, mystery is good!

And all I can think is THIS GUY IS 70!? Perhaps it’s time to focus on other things Twitterverse…

Author Bio: Gabrielle Banzhaf is a designer, maker, mother, gardener and caretaker living in Lakewood, OH with her son and partner. She graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art with a BFA in Fiber & Material Studies and is currently pursuing a BA from Ursuline College in Public Relations & Marketing Communications. She enjoys spending time on her porch swing, splashing around with her little one, working in her wood shop & obsessing over Game of Thrones.

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