Reputation and Transparency

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.  I’ll stick to having my own little piece of the Web on which to make my own mistakes for the world to see.

6 Responses to “Reputation and Transparency”

  1. Nicola

    Hi Harold, I agree re reputation management.

    I blog to get stuff out of my brain and free up some thinking space, I am very happy to pay for hosting my own designed little piece of webspace where I can document everything and perform mini-experiments and see what happens.

    I guess others may feel they don’t have time or have already reputations that they would like to maintain / enhance and/or they making a living from their blogs/websites so it makes sense – but it all feels a little bit too ‘managed’ and unflexible to me.

    Reply
  2. Jennifer

    Every time I read an article on CBC.ca I scan the comments. There certainly are some miserable ones. There is a “report abuse” button that doesn’t seem to achieve much. You would think there would be a bit more restraint.

    Reply
  3. Christy Tucker

    My issue with Naymz is that it seems to be another site like Quechup that sends an invite to every person in your contact list.

    Maybe it is just a bad user interface that makes it too easy to send to all, but I get suspicious when I get identical form requests from multiple people who shouldn’t be asking me to help build their reputations. (One invite was from someone who used to report to me but has ignored my emails since I left the job. The other was from someone whose name didn’t even ring a bell; after searching through old emails I realized I answered a question for her in an online group over a year ago.)

    Still, the concept of an online reputation management is a good one, even if I’m skeptical that Naymz is it. I do still think that there is a place and time for being pseudononymous. When I was more active in the discussion forums on Beliefnet, I used a pseudonym there. I’ve been fairly careful about keeping my religious discussions separate from all my professional work. Maybe that’s more of a concern in the US than in Canada. After having a former manager nastily say, “Oh, I know lots of those” after I told her what denomination I belong to, I guard that information more closely.

    Reply
  4. Nicola

    Thanks Harold 🙂 The website is with my own fair hands (and some legit tweaking of CSS Zen Garden’s styles) but not the blog (its an add-in but I’m hoping to try and make one that looks like the rest of the site later this year.
    Actually I just tried out the site in the mobile W3C validation tool yesterday and I have about a million errors so needs some major mobile work too, another one for the to-do list :-)))

    Reply
  5. Luke

    Another interesting option for online reputation management is trustplus. Trustplus is a portable reputation service where you can aggregate all your online feedback into one badge. So if you are a big seller/buyer on classified sites you can bring your feedback. If you get rated on your blogs you can bring that. It’s a neat tool and they have other tools such as a trustcirlce where you can form your own group of people you trust. Pretty Neat and alot less intrusive.

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