Essentially one would just be careful about what they said and how they said it. Occasionally a troublemaker may spread unfounded rumors about a person, but these rumors would in most instances not propagate much further than the local community. In most cases it was a relatively simple task to refute the demeaning words and put the burden back on the defamatory speaker to justify their words…. not so today.
Cradle-To-Grave Reputation Management™ has taken on a whole new life of its own with the advent of instant and global Internet search capabilities, and a very low barrier to entry for would-be authors. In traditional media, a journalist had to work their way up the ranks with constant editorial oversight before their written word was considered worthy for public consumption. Today, with services such as Blogger, WordPress, and other similar online solutions, any well-meaning (or evil-meaning) person can distribute their thoughts, good or bad, globally – with the click of a mouse button.
Every man, woman and child; every business or nonprofit; members of political parties, or any other organization that does not think Internet reputation management is something that needs to be addressed immediately is frankly naïve. The only exceptions being individuals that are in their golden years and looking to retire soon, or individuals whose reputations or careers benefit from negative spin such as trashy talk show hosts, shock-jock journalists and others of a similar ilk. Frankly, any one of these people or organizations that has not yet fallen victim to a malicious online smear campaign should be more than a little worried.
The warm and fuzzy feeling of security they might have at the moment could come crashing down the day that they see on Page One of Google allegations of corruption, embezzlement, promiscuity or other socially unacceptable offenses. There is no way to ascertain as to whether such assertions have merit, and precious little that can be done to defend yourself against Google’s algorithms.
My advice to one and all is “do not wait for it to happen to you, because it will happen”. It is much better to be safe than sorry, and it is much cheaper to mitigate risks than to remediate disasters.
An important thing to remember is that 3 or 4% of the population take pleasure in other people’s pain; their clinical diagnosis is anti-social personality disorder (psychopath). In almost any activity it is much easier to benefit or profit from destroying something than by creating something, to a sociopath your reputation is an easy target. This summarizes the motivation, and defines the need for a solution.