Deep thought on reputation systems

I'm a month late on this meme, but it's still a valuable read for PR folk. "Manifesto for the Reputation Society" is an exercise in sketching out the benefits and hindrances of encouraging a growing reputation system, based on easily available information, shared opinions, personalized experiences, categorized relationships and maybe a touch of accreditation or regulation. The paper examines how reputation societies might grow, using increasingly popular social networks as building blocks to compile information, gather critiques, solicit opinions and bring together communities of interest to influence the decisions made by consumers, companies, markets and governments.

PR folk will be challenged by this paper. The future of the profession isn't explicit in the system being proposed - unless you see your future in obfuscation, falsification, and the consternation of your audience.

Deliberate skewing of reputations by those who benefit from their inaccuracy is one of the greatest operational problems reputation systems will face, once they have dealt with implementation issues like privacy and authentication. The public relations agencies of today may evolve into the reputation manipulation and repair agencies of tomorrow, with expertise ranging from understanding why one’s reputation is in trouble to underhanded ways of gaming reputation systems.

Arenas with more heterogeneous interest groups like politics and commerce will naturally have more pressure for skewing reputations — consider the present–day difference in deceitfulness between commercial and educational Web sites.

We put a lot of our energy into developing relationships with reporters: how much effort will we put into understanding all our other stakeholders? You will have to understand the entire public environment affecting your issue, staff, development, process or company if you're going to play in a reputation society.