Do you Need to Have a Bland Internet Persona?

Personas © by nicolasnova

Nowadays it is not unusual to hear someone being fired for something they posted online, tweeted or said in the media. It seems there is a new Internet gaffe every day, and sometimes these faux pas are committed by industry insiders who ought to know better.

The latest head to roll for a media gaffe was Joe Williams, a writer for online publication Politico. Williams and Politico had a mutually agreed partying of ways after right-wing media targeted him for saying that “Mitt Romney was more comfortable around white people.”

To many people in the African American community this comment was accurate and harmless, but after right-wing site whipped up a frenzy of outrage, Williams and Politico began to look bad. 

However, this does raise an interesting point about how media figures are supposed to handle their public (and online) personas. Now that everything you say and do is recorded one has to be very careful about what you say on record, because you can be punished for speaking the truth.

This is even more important for the younger generation who grew up on Facebook and post and share everything. Just think how a potential employer will react to the bikini pictures and the profanity on your Facebook page.

The problem is now I am forced to be overly cautious about the comments I make. For example, I recently learned that Newark Mayor Corey Booker is launching a news site that allows people to post video comments on stories. I thought this sounded like a great idea, but now I am wondering, if I go on the site could my comments come back and bite me?

Personally, I would have thought that employers would prefer employees who have creative opinions, but that might not be the case, if you disagree with their point of view.

Manny Otiko, founder of Otiko Communications, has worked in the public relations and journalism field for about 15 years as a journalist and a media relations specialist. His experience includes stints as a reporter at a daily newspaper, serving as a media relations specialist for a state agency and working for several Southern California public relations agencies.

Manny has worked with clients in the public affairs, technology, education and economic development fields. He has secured coverage in publications such as The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, the Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal, and Men’s Health.

Manny has been published in The Riverside Press Enterprise, The LA Sentinel, The LA Wave, The Washington Afro-Am, IE Weekly and Our Weekly. He is an active member of the National Association of Black Journalists and the Black Journalists’ Association of Southern California.

He is currently promoting Christopher Otiko’s medical thriller “Santa,” which is available as an ebook. “Santa” is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. And it is currently available via PayPal for $1.99. (E-mail For more information visit Author Christopher Otiko on Facebook. To read the first chapters of “Santa,” go to