Friday, March 23, 2012

Building a Reputation

The Internet is such an essential part of all our lives now that we hardly ever stop to think about the vast amount of information that's out there. You can find websites that cover literally any topic. Many companies and even prominent individuals have their own sites now, and any person can have a Facebook page, Twitter account, or blog. But we also tend to be somewhat prejudice towards information on the Internet. Anybody can post anything they want. Which means information on the web should be taken with a degree of suspicion.

On that note, I present this website and its marketable service as evidence of just how crazy things can get online. The website claims that they can help people block personal information from being available online, and can help stop false or distorted information from being accessed. Not sure how it works, but it sounds legitimate. Unfortunately, this company doesn't seem to discriminate between content that is absolutely false and absolutely true. So, an individual or company that has a terrible track record could utilize these services, and make all that bad stuff go away.

Consider the plight of Rick Santorum (just google "santorum" to see what I mean). In that case, this service may be helpful to the Presidential candidate in clearing up that embarrassing issue. On the other hand, Santorum could use it to block content that may not appeal to voters, but is still accurate. That could be press releases, video content from speeches, sound bites, or direct quotes or copies of his speeches. He could easily limit videos of him endorsing Mitt Romney in 2007/08.

And what about private businesses? What if a company that installs plumbing has a bad habit of using low-grade pipes that burst after 30 days? That company could go online and have this website limit access to the plethora of bad reviews out there. They could even direct people to the few positive reviews that are available.

In other words, information on the internet is not as free as once thought. Companies like this one have the ability to stifle accurate representation and community conversation about people or businesses. If they can do this, who's to say they can't work in the other direction, promoting negative content about a particular person or company? Apparently, it no longer matters if a person is a jerk or a saint; the information on the internet is just another commodity.

1 comment:

samp said...

Interesting. People just have to start thinking for themselves and not take at face value anything they read in newspapers, on the internet or hear on TV/Radio.

The internet is great but you have to think for yourself; make and live with YOUR decisions. And not blindly beleive or follow everything you read.

I agree with you on this pretty much.