Not less than two billion Internet users’ collective intelligence, coupled with the digital fingerprints so many of them inadvertently leave on sites they check, together make it much more possible that every video, every photo, and every e-mail – inappropriate or indelicate – does get attributed to its origin, whether that particular source wishes it to be so or not.
Guard against any form of ‘public’ backlash
This heightened level of intelligence does make the public realm in the online world more public than before. So details of personal lives, not in any way to your business profile, come into public view. Your unwanted personal details and life instances can come under public scanner, for no reason. From this point of view, online reputation management has acquired a whole new dimension that you cannot afford to ignore.
To some section of users or experts, this could well conjure up curious comparisons to the agents of the repressive Middle East authorities that meticulously monitor online activities protests and suppress them. But then there can also be positive numerous effects from a wider social angle: criminals elements can be tracked and ferreted out, false claims can be exposed and intelligent individuals can turn into Internet heroes in no time.
Take the case of Rich Lam, a freelance photographer, who digested his images of the rioting in Vancouver. His shots of a lip-locked couple, surrounded by police in riot gear, bang in the middle of a watching kiss instantly invited the online community’s attention.
When they were published, the photos led to a sort of worldwide dragnet to identify the ‘man and woman’. The couple’s relatives within a day had tipped off news sites about their identities, and Scott Jones and Alex Thomas enjoyed their moment of glory. The incident is latest testimony to the power of Internet that can work both ways.
The world wants to know who is saying what, where
This erosion of privacy of anonymity is a byproduct of social media services, cellphone cameras, videos cameras, free Web hosts for photo & video, and most important of all, perhaps is a gradual change in people’s mindset as what ought to be private and what ought to be public.
A faculty at the Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School, Susan Crawford, while analyzing this tendency, mentioned in an interview to The New York Times:
“Humans clearly want nothing more than to connect. The companies and platforms, which are connecting us electronically, want to know who is saying what, where…and as a result of this, we are more known than ever before.”
Media experts point out that social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter, seeking real identities and the sharing of videos and photographs, have acted as a catalyst to hasten this change in the people’s thinking.