I’ve referred to my blogging as a permanent presence on the Web and have encouraged would-be bloggers to first get a permanent domain name. My site is where anyone can find out most things about me, such as what I think, who I’ve worked for or how to contact me on various platforms. Michele Martin writes that you can’t hide with Web 2.0 and that “managing your online reputation becomes a critical success skill for both individuals and organizations in a global trust economy”.
I just received an invitation to a service, Naymz, that will supposedly let you manage your online reputation. Kind of like a broker for your whuffie. This seems to be a step up from ZoomInfo which aggregates online information about people. I’m sure we’ll see more of these cropping up.
Of course, I can see the downside of these reputation management systems and I’m sure that there are people figuring out how to manipulate them already, just as Google Page Rank is constantly gamed. However, anonymity on the Web seems to bring out the worst in us. I’ve been reading CBC’s French immersion articles with some nasty and bigoted comments by anonymous posters. Viewing anonymously makes sense and in certain cases anonymous posting may be useful, but for the most part, online forums should tacitly encourage the use of real names, perhaps through OpenID or some other user-controlled service.
Overall, transparency is a good thing but I’m going to reserve judgement on whether we need centralized services to manage our reputations.Â I’ll stick to having my own little piece of the Web on which to make my own mistakes for the world to see.