Reputation


So does identity equal reputation? After all this is the claim made by some identity practitioners such as Dick Hardt (Hardt, 2006). The simple answer is no. Does it matter? And the answer is yes, it matters a lot.

Today in our digitised society your digital identity is quite simply an entry in a database, an object in duplicate, triplicate and much more, copied over numerous disparate directories scattered across the globe. Conversely your reputation is worth significant value to you but to others nothing, unless they use your reputation to add value to their own. To all intents and purposes your identity is worth a piece of gold to those motivated to collect, use and abuse identities. For your reputation, everything you publish online has most likely been copied and replicated to another server or indexed and cached by some search engine. For this reason your reputation has a persistence value that it did not have before.

Your digital identity and anything that links to you, including the digital residue you leave in your wake, is a gold mine for gold diggers. However your digital reputation is not worth stealing. Yet it is worth nurturing. In essence your online reputation can attain a value that may not reflect accurately the person sitting behind. It is by using your reputation that you can online create a type of personal branding. Once you have separated your reputation from your identity it becomes quite straightforward to take it and manage it. Your reputation could possibly, be divided into three phases: (1) what you did before, (2) what you are doing now and in your lifetime, and finally (3) what happens after you die. It takes skill to manage your digital reputation effectively.

Your identity needs to be protected and your reputation needs nurturing. What’s more is that your identity can make money for “gold diggers”, whereas your reputation is of no value except for what you make of it; and then its subjective value is of worth only to yourself.

But how can you protect your digital identity and nurture your digital reputation, if you do not own them, or even control them? I will be posting more on this in following weeks 😉

Some good tips on how to Google yourself effectively here.

I was reading the web article Google CEO Schmidt: No Anonymity Is The Future Of Web this morning where Eric Schmidt is quoted as saying:

Privacy is incredibly important. Privacy is not the same thing as anonymity. It’s very important that Google and everyone else respects people’s privacy. People have a right to privacy; it’s natural; it’s normal. It’s the right way to do things. But if you are trying to commit a terrible, evil crime, it’s not obvious that you should be able to do so with complete anonymity. There are no systems in our society which allow you to do that. Judges insist on unmasking who the perpetrator was. So absolute anonymity could lead to some very difficult decisions for our governments and our society as a whole.

Some espouse that the loss of anonymity will endanger privacy. I can see both sides of the argument and again, as I stated in my post on March 2nd – Do I want to be anonymous? Yes! Do I want to be authenticated? Yes! that it is all about balance. Can I, or should I, be anonymous when I want to perform on-line banking? No. Is it anyone’s business what I look at, or when, or why, when I surf the net? No.

So again, it’s not either-or, but a balance. Sometimes anonymity is desired, and sometime non-repudiation.

Following my recent thoughts on why people should be more hesitant in blogging all and everything that’s in their head, I now read that a policeman lost his job because of what he wrote in his blog. These blog entries focused on his work in the police and were told to give the readers a view of the police work they they would otherwise never get.

But the blog postings were mocking both colleagues and crime victims, which in turn got the heads of his department to fire him for disloyalty against the department and breach of his obligations towards the employer.

This is believed to be the first time this happens to a police officer in Sweden. Link to the article in Swedish.

A ratio that is calculated that gives some indication of the online reputation of organisations using statistics. Read more at Blackfistsecurity.com

You take the number of mentions, against the number of negative reports and from this you get a suckage ratio. If you list several companies you can rank them against each other. For example HP ranks higher than IBM in the following calculations done by my esteemed HP colleague Eoin Fleming:

I heard on the Swedish news today that the SEB bank is paying a company to clean and enhance the online presence of their VP. This includes paying a fee to increase Google ranking for positive information over negative.

This type of service is growing and not surprisingly. Read my article in The Hindu on the ‘publications’ tab to read more in my opinions here.