Thanks to the internet, search engines, and social media we now have the ability to monitor, catalog, and track our interactions, our friendships, our writings, and our transactions. While this radical transparency can be frightening from a privacy perspective, I believe the benefits are transforming society for the better. Have you considered how greater transparency affects your life? Your career?
No area of the economy has been as dramatically shaken by transparency as ecommerce. Not only do price engines help you find the best deals, but user-generated reviews take the risk out of buying online. Before Amazon, buying a book required driving to a bookstore and quickly skimming some pages before purchasing. Today, Amazon gives you a glimpse inside the book, and offers you dozens (sometimes hundreds) of reviews written by other readers. If a book (or product) doesn’t live up to the publisher’s hype, you will know.
Radical transparency is also affecting your career whether you are aware of it or not. Just a few short years ago, a resumé was the center of the job-search universe. This document told the story of your professional career. Today, potential employers depend on the search engines to discover a more complete story about you. What do you look like on the internet? Have you posted anything of value? What has been written about you? What do you write about others?
Your online and offline life are no longer separate. Recommendations, praise, comments, and criticism of you and your business are being posted to blogs and microblogs (Twitter), social media, and business rating sites (Yelp.com has over 6 million local restaurant reviews). If you participate in online forums, then you’re already familiar with rating systems that filter out “trolls” from “good Karma” users who consistently post helpful information and supportive advice.
These online ranking/comment/review systems all contribute to a transparent society where your recommendations are readily available to potential friends, colleagues, and employers. If you are a person who provides value to the world, and treats others with respect, you will certainly benefit from these new “Karmic” review systems.
Tony’s presentation at WordCamp Dallas 2009 covers these topics and more.
Update: Here’s a fantastic presentation by Joey Shepp that spells out these ideas more deeply:
image credit: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/speedy2
About Tony Cecala
Tony is a business strategist. He publishes the Holistic Networker and produces the Wellness Expo. In his spare time he reads about technology and the mind.