Forget about where social technologies are today. We need to look at where they're going and be prepared for the dawn of future concepts like "outboard brains," online reputation management, and social standards.
I had a similar thought, Mary. - I squirm at the notion of FB becoming a kind of de facto authentication gateway -- especially since I'm pondering how to get off of it, not more involved with it.
What about people who aren't on social media sites - or online at all? Will the new "third world" be those who aren't online? Are they better off because no one will be able to smear their reputations? Do we lose an entire generation of seniors who aren't Internet trained and savvy? And will every child be required to be online, similar to having a birth certificate?
I am not an attorney, but I can imagine a situation almost the reverse of what you describe, lek. Under U.S. law, at least, public figures bringing defamation suits have to show that statements are not only false and damaging but were made with "actual malice," a high standard to meet. Additionally, the courts have entertained the concept of someone being a public figure for certain purposes.
For example, if I promote some aspect of my activities to the public, I might be considered a public figure just for those purposes. This makes me wonder whether it won't be very difficult to win a defamation suit against someone who has made false statements with respect to your public and publicised online reputation.
I doubt if this has been tested yet, but I'd love to hear comments from a real lawyer in the community.
How do you think online reputations will be treated by the courts? If someone or some site defames you and cost you monetary damages who will be liable damages? If someone sues one of these online reputation websites and win, that would be the end of the online reputations. And, to be honest, that why I think online reputation will not come to fruition. There is too much money to be lost than gain. The only people that will be making money will be lawyers and probably the insurance industry (liability insurance specifically).
What happened to the hype around data portability anyway? I feel like a couple of years ago it was the hot topic and then it kind of fizzled and... well... we still don't have these portable profiles. Facebook seems most likely to be the log-in and profile of choice at the moment, our key to accessing the rest of the Web, but that possibility scares me.
I agree that re-entering information again and again is frustrating. ID federation via OAuth has been a good thing in social media but too many Web 2.0 sites are getting lazy. They lean on people having a Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn account.
A more promising suggestion would be an ID locker of sorts (Apple would call it a Keychain) that follows your profile all over the place. Unfortunately, this has been tried many times before via browser, token, and other online keys with not a lot of public pickup.
Here here... I agree. I have long wished we would get standards built for profile and ratings systems so they would become more portable, and trustable. There is no technical issue stopping this, just a concept issue...
Consistent, portable profiles sound great, but I'm concerned about the security involved. Then again, perhaps it doesn't matter: If I have a portable profile, it would be set up for wide publication and therefore, presumably, not have any content that needs to be filtered or vetted across sites.
The idea of a portable profile goes against the grain of today's social sites, which bid to be unique in the kinds of profiles and info they offer participants -- and to the ad buyers targeting them.
I really hope social media can introduce portability for profiles across a series of platforms. I think we all know that this is an apparently simple concept which many systems with which we're familiar have been incapable of embracing.
Can I just say doctor visits? Not to mention immigration, job applications, just about any red tape. Even dealing with the same organization, how many times to we need to fill out the same information over and over again - knowing perfectly well that what we put on the paper forms we still use will be uploaded into a database anyway.
Unfortunately, I do not think that online reputations will be viewed as baseless in the future. I think there will be lots of issues with things like the fact that people tend to be more negative than positive, and competitive smear campaigns. Yet, there are many fantastic things about the concept of people being able to rate each other online. It will force transparency and insight into our world about each other and that is a good thing because evil can always hide in the dark. Take away the dark, and goodness must play a heavier role. I suspect that for the next decade there will be lots of drama around online reputation. Then we will slowly sort it out - and it will be a very different world for us after the smoke clears.
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