Michael Arrington recently posted an article on TechCrunch discussing online reputations. Reputation Is Dead: It’s Time To Overlook Our Indiscretions seems to be Arrington’s way of laying it on the proverbial line, and giving up the ghosts of his past. He feels strongly that in the very near future, we won’t care so much about our online reputations anymore.
This post has been debated to death already amongst people in the blogosphere. Both sides of the coin are passionate about their viewpoint (naturally). Lockergnome blogger, Ron Schenone wrote an excellent rebuttal, where he contends that reputation does, indeed, matter greatly.
I threw Ron’s post onto Google Buzz to see what type of reactions our community would have. There have been a couple of excellent points made, and I wanted to share them here.
This is kinda like the teacher that posted pics of her going out at a club and the student’s parents complained. But the public spoke up for the teacher and felt the parents were wrong. We are slowly embracing the good, bad, and ugly of humanity thanks to the internet. We could be naturally desensitizing a bit. There are anonymous feedback services like betterme.com and the honesty box app is somewhat popular, so he may have a point.
I’m observing the culture of “hidden” behind an avatar in MMO’s like Secondlife decreasing at some point. More people will begin to associate their real life photos with their avatars, augmented reality, and other future technologies. That’s a good measurement to look at the progress of our transparency.
Online reputation is not dead despite what arrington says. We do however need to kill anonymous comments. If someone wants to make positive or negative comments about people then at least they should have to put their name to the comment. Building and or protecting your relationship online is paramount in the future. People stupidly believe anything people write online whether true or not.
TechCrunch and all other mainstream blogs should start by disabling anon comments. They won’t because they care more about pageviews than real comment value.
Philena Rush came back with:
I dunno Sam, I post on TC with my FB account all the time. With the openID movement, I think less and less will be anonymous.
Sam Sethi returned:
I agree you can choose to comment with your FB ID but not everyone does. It is simple wordpress setting to disable anon comments if they wanted too.
What are your reactions to this particular TechCrunch article? I can understand where Michael is coming from, but I cannot say I agree completely. Your reputation is important, whether it’s a “real-life” one – or an online one. I have to side with Ron when he stated that no one person can (or should) decide what is “right” and “wrong.” This alone makes the case for the importance of reputations, and indiscretions.