The Web is a two edge sword with benefits and risks. As you travel the Internet, review how you act and react on the sites you visit. Here are some things to think about.
We're living in a new world. Tread lightly.
That was how a friend started her Facebook post. An article she read on Time.com put a warning in her head about the dangers of texting while parenting. She wanted her friends and family to know that the relationships we have with our children and grandchildren are at stake!
According to the article, kids don't want to compete with smartphones for attention. Can you blame them?
In the 1960s and 1970s, parents were warned that watching too much TV meant spending less quality time with family. In 2015, it's the smartphone that monopolizes our attention and causes us to get grumpy when the kids interrupt a game of Candy Crush.
The moral to this story... Think before using your smartphone and watch your travels carefully when you step out on the web. It's not just our relationships with our families that are at risk.
Review Your Online Activities
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It's not just our children and grandchildren that react to our online activities. Our banks, employers, travel agents and others watch us as we surf the 'Net. Yes, the Big Brother from George Orwell's classic book, 1984, is alive, well and watching us. And, Big Brother's cousin, Big Data, is keeping score.
In the new and evolving Reputation Economy that is forming on the web, the authors predict that reputation, not money, will be the new power. And, how we act online will affect our online reputation score. It will be this score that will define how people see us and what they will do for us. Or, not do for us.
What is this online reputation score? It's created by a computer algorithm and it takes all of our online activities into account. How can it do this? Big Data is busy collecting everything it can about us as we travel from site to site on the web. Cookies are just one way to collect all kinds of data about us. And, data storage is so cheap that companies can afford to store petabytes of data. A petabyte is 1 million gigabytes!
With so much available cheap storage, Big Data's sibling, Big Analysis, has lots of data to work with and manipulate. Big Data can store everything from our Google searches to online purchases, websites visited and social media posts. And Big Analysis has the computing power to make a quick decision about our characters and habits.
Create an Online Reputation Plan
Think about this for a minute. The combination of data collection, cheap data storage and blazing-fast analytic abilities means that everything we do online can be under scrutiny and recorded. Algorithms have the ability to assign us a reputation score based on the people we meet, the places we go and the things we do.
How much do you know about your fellow Farmville players? You may not think your time spent with gaming friends doesn't matter, but it might. Big Data and Big Analysis may use this information to create a reputation score that affects your ability to rent a car, buy a home or receive valuable coupons.
Now, if you're thinking that you can surf the web anonymously and avoid detection, you may be wrong. According to Fertik and Thompson, "powerful software can often identify you by nothing more than the quirks of your writing style."
What do the author's of The Reputation Economy suggest we do to protect ourselves from Big Data and Big Analysis? Here are their basic tips:
- Assume everything you do online is being collected, stored and analyzed.
- Be careful what you say and how you react to false allegations.
- Create a digital smokescreen to hide any negative information in your search results.
Learn How to Manage Your Online Activities
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Audible and MP3 CD editions.
The moral to this story... Keep a clean social media profile, always be on your best behavior online and think before you post.
Find more insights and tips on living on the web while preserving your reputation by reading The Reputation Economy. I found this book fascinating, informative and somewhat scary. The Reputation Economy is a well researched book that looks at the effects online data collection can have on our lives and our abilities to get along in the world. It provides some serious food for thought that every netizen should be thinking about.
Coletta Teske received The Reputation Economy from Blogging for Books in exchange for this honest review.
Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.