A New Pandora's Box
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#58510 (In Topic #12758)
Our infatuation with social media networks may have opened up a new Pandora's Box
By Jean Gosselin
A web explorer's viewpoint
Corporations are making farsighted efforts at evaluating the character traits of their work force to avoid costly situations where acts of incompetence, greed, malevolence or simple carelessness could have long lasting and calamitous consequences for their growth in a very competitive market place. Workers social behavior evaluations are increasingly available thanks to our addiction to social media networks. Our newly found infatuation may have opened up a Pandora's Box.
The magnitude of social media networks may be driving the emergence of a new crop of commercial companies (profile reference agencies) tasked to compile information from a number of different sources, which will then be sold to employers and anyone willing to pay. These reports will most likely summarize statistics in the form of a rating for character traits and social behaviors.
Harvesters are already collecting metadata from repositories while intuitive artificial intelligence clients such as data mining, recommendation agents, and scoring algorithm software are scanning millions of terabytes of information, assembling 'characterworthiness' scores to be measured against a behavioral model for automated 'decisioning' applications to determine the risk of dealing with you.
Consider the importance of your credit report: On American television it's hard to miss the wildly popular band of slackers singing ruefully from a shabby apartment or while waiting tables in pirate regalia. The ruined credit that led to their financial misfortune might have been sparkling if only they'd tracked their status on freecreditreport.com. Credit monitoring provides customers with real-time updates about changes to their credit files that might affect how lenders see them. It is a rapidly expanding niche approaching $1 billion in sales for which millions of people have signed up, often unwittingly.
Are we soon to see the emergence of sites with names like freeprofilereport.com?
David Harley, Director of Malware Intelligence, ESET recently wrote "There is probably more misinformation than information in the online world, whether it's deliberate deception, propaganda, fraud, well-meaning lack of comprehension, or just data that are no longer current. So any instance of an organization relying on the accuracy of data from a wider (more public) range of resources raises concerns about inaccuracy and perhaps even the deliberate poisoning of data. How can individuals keep track of and validate everything that is 'known' about them when presumed-valid information is pulled from who knows where? It might benefit us all to think for a moment about the long-term impact that our next Facebook update or tweet may have on ourselves or our friends, before we put fingers to keyboard or keypad… "
If we cannot be shielded from data exploitation, can we at least influence its outcome?
You won't get a do-over if it's something you're no longer proud of, but you can have a strategy to leverage the positive references while finding the negative ones and addressing them so that they don't spin out of control and continue to have a negative impact on your score.
Today's Publicists manage the public's perception of their high profile clients with much the same tools we have access to, but with a high level of deliberation based on extensive financial resources. Notice how everyone with a name must have a Facebook Page, a Twiter account and a Blog site.
For mere mortals however, the ultimate publicist must take the form of a website that reaches beyond the usual 'template' post card of the kind that says in big flashy letters: "Hey! It's me, myself and I. I am great, and you should all say good things about me, because I'm me!!" That won't cut it anymore. The website must exhibit values. It must be different and transparent with opinions, but respectful of others. It will serve as evidence of leadership, dedication and hard work while promoting cooperation. These are just some of the Social Skills that need to be disseminated across the Web for the future harvesters of profile data.
The best way to accomplish this is to create a community oriented site with significant features:
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