In the old-fashioned days reputation used to be a sort of etherial thing. It existed in the abstract, in the collective minds of people who knew you. Your identity was ideally based on your actions and how people responded to those things. This reputation form of identity has always been subject to the memetic distortion of its antithesis – the rumor.
Our online identities – curated by us – should provide some protection against rumors, because despite what people may “think” we can create our own highly visible official account. My resume is visible on linkedin. People don’t have to doubt where I went to school or what I studied. It’s right there.
Where this gets interesting is not having to do with our personal history. I think it gets interesting in the layers of personality. There is a work persona, and a personal persona that we have. We separate them physically and psychologically, it is the reason for dress codes (i may have just made that up).
It is the life mix as Sherry Turkle mentions. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtLVCpZIiNs
And the “idealized self” as represented on the digital world.
We have separate social networks. There is a reason you share things on facebook but not on linkedin. There is a reason why “circles” are the new social stratification. Some may be highly aligned in their personal and professional lives. For some, every waking moment they are building a personal brand. Others (like me) may have orthogonal interests.
And then one day I had a collision between the “ok cupid” world and the “linkedin” world.
I guess it comes back to digital karma. Modern communities can be very small. Put good out into the world at every chance you get because the internet never forgets.