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Future of Reputation

May 9, 2010

Inspired by the book, The Future of Reputation: gossip, rumor, and privacy on the Internet by Daniel J. Solove

From the beginning of time, people have gossiped, circulating rumors, and shaming others.  Since the birth of the Internet, in our society, these social practices are moving into the virtual world of the Web.

The Internet is a powerful tool, it has given the ability to share information and allow people to stay connected with others.  Nonetheless, the Internet does something that many people don’t think about, it generates and leaves a digital footprint of everything an individual does which could cause harmful damage to the individual in the future.

How many times have we performed a Google search on an individual?

In the book of Future of Reputation, Solove shares an example of a man name Micheal, who severed time in a juvenile prison.  While in prison, he wrote a few articles about his experience in specialize journals. Due to the Web, these articles have came back to haunt him.  Every time someone does a Google search on Micheal, these articles appear and there is nothing he can do about it.

It’s important that people know and understand that when content goes live online it stays there, no matter what!  So what about privacy online or is there such a thing?

What’s the most concerning part of the Web leaving digital footprints of users’ activity is the people who are naive to the social ramification of the Internet…the younger generation.  I wonder if this generation who has been raised in the digital era have the maturity of knowing the effects of posting information online can have a permanent effect?

Growing up my friends and I wrote letters and something were very personally.  Well, kids now are posting things online that can be very personal or hurtful to other kids not knowing the digital imprint it’s leaving.

This book left me with many questions to think about such as:

What are our children posting online?

Do they understand how the Internet works in terms of privacy?

What are parents and teachers doing to educate our youth about the appropriate manners and behaviors online?

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