What is your online Reputation?

The Reputation Economy; How to Optimize Your Digital Footprint in a World Where Your Reputation is Your Most Valuable Asset. The author Michael Fertik is the CEO and founder of Reputation.com the world leader in digital reputation and privacy management.

The book highlights the benefits and the negatives in the current world we live in with social media, media, and how everything we do anymore creates a digital foot print.  He makes the case that your reputation is as good as cash in your wallet and you must manage your reputation and protect it.  In this summary I will highlight the main points of the book and illustrate a few stories that will make you think “WOW”!

We’re in a new world of reputation, where reputations are made and lost in an instant, where everything you do will be tracked, calculated, measured, and analyzed, and where anyone can find out nearly anything about everyone else with just a click.  And while there are plenty of things you can do influence the conversation and shape public perceptions, at the end of the day the best reputation management strategy is simply to earn it by bringing more value to your employer and your customers, treating others well, and being socially and environmentally responsible.  If you embrace the Reputation Economy, make sure you advertise your unique skills and talents, generate enough fodder for those reputation engines we keep talking about, and carefully curate the reputation you have.

  • A human blink can take up to four hundred milliseconds, in that time, an average laptop computer can perform almost one billion calculations.

In the Reputation economy it is like cash, putting it up as collateral to secure your debts and to make transactions you could never otherwise make.

All data is stored and is permanent, cheap, and ubiquitous.

  • Twitter generates over 400 million tweets of data everyday. , the US Library of Congress is permanently storing every public tweet send on Twitter, regardless of its contents.

Everything that can be collected and aggregated will and it will be scored.

  • Every piece of information you provide to a computer with a click of your mouse is reduced to a number that its algorithms can manipulate. The machine means no insult, but it has no other way to represent you, its understanding is limited to math.
  • Computers and scoring can come from any data that you put into Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other media or website you use.  Additionally all of your loyalty programs you are apart of at your favorite retailers.
  • Computers can take all of this data and create a Reputation score for you or a credibility score.  In the future and in many ways already being currently used to analyze your buying habits.
  • Companies will soon be issuing credibility scores, which they’ll use to determine your eligibility to participate in social sharing services like car sharing, apartment sharing, and so on.
  • A high credibility score could be based on a squeaky clean credit, an accident free driving record and a history of always paying your bills on time.
  • Health and Longevity scores issued from insurers to investors and employers.  These scores will be determined by your television watching habits and your fast food consumption.
  • A California woman was convicted of workers compensation fraud after she typed more than two hundred posts to Facebook after claiming that a wrist injury prevented her from typing at work.
  • Your friends and who you associate will be scored online as well.  You are usually the same or similar to your friends, so who your friends are will also dictate your reputation and credibility score.
  • The next generation of reputation scoring will go further than ever before aggregating information about you, the joke is “We know what you did last summer” technology.
  • The best strategy is to carefully curate your digital footprint so that positive information will eclipse and counterbalance all the negative data that you don’t have control over.

Don’t stop believing in the power of Reputation to shape your career.

  • If you have searched for a job lately and have applied to a company using their automated application process, you have already been apart of algorithms determining whether or not you get the job.  A lot of companies are already using basic systems to search for keywords and other attributes to determine if you would make a good employee for that company.
  • Some companies have used these algorithms to prevent any kind of discrimination in their hiring process.  The computer doesn’t look at black or white or any other race, it just purely looks at the data to determine if you meet the qualifications, and it is all done by a computer with no human interaction, so companies are safe from biases that could occur
  • In many jobs your career growth is more important than your current position.  Smart algorithms are starting to learn the difference between a candidate who has stagnated and a candidate who has worked their way up.
  • No matter what profession or industry you’re in, a good reputation can open doors that you never knew existed.  But your career is far from the only are of life you can stand to profit from a good reputation.

Disrupting Education as we know it.

  • Your reputation score will be so disruptive to higher education because the technology is quickly developing to allow your unique reputation to become  stronger signal of employability than the name on your diploma, or even whether you have a diploma at all. These signals will be less expensive than ever for employers to find.
  • A new thing called microcredientials are already being tested and used in various of job fields.  Microcredentials can be a course, a test, or something quick that says you “know” this.  This could be the future of education.
  • In a world where predictions about your future job performance are increasingly made by computers, your ability to demonstrate the value of your education in actual skills will far more valuable than the traditional signals of a GPA and a fancy degree.  Racking up as many credentials as possible that can be digitized, quantified, and measured will be crucial to launching a successful career in any field.
  • In the Reputation economy a poor decision to wreck a hotel room, will be felt across many areas of your life (you’ll get a score for it, which may affect your financial scores as well)
  • In 1997 a study reported that half of bankruptcy filers found out that personal bankruptcy was an option from a friend or relative.  A paper from the University of Pennsylvania revealed that you are more likely to file for bankruptcy if you have a friend who has declared bankruptcy.  So who your friends are and your twitter followers, and who you interact with online could determine your eligibility to get a home loan.
  • A company by the name of Movenbank (now Moven)works somewhat like a traditional bank.  They offer checking accounts and other financial products, but unlike traditional banks they are strictly online, they are pushing to replace plastic credit cards with smartphone applications  Their most controversial difference is they use a reputation score to determine who gets credit.  They call it Credscore.  An applicant with a top CREDscore gets more exclusive offers, lower fees, and possibly even better customer service.  They build the CREDscore by looking at a customers social networking accounts Linkedin, Facebook, and so on.  An algorithm analyzes the data related to your job,  Are you stable?  Consistent with the income you declared.  They have not stated whether or not it relies on the creditworthiness of you friends for your CREDscore, but it is very easy to get that information and why wouldn’t they, they know who your friends are.
  • A machine is making important financial decision based on your reputation and the reputation of your friends, without any interference from humans.

The major point of this book is that anything and everything you do online leaves a trail, it creates a digital footprint.  Every Facebook post, every tweet, every purchase you make online, every time you use your loyalty card at your favorite retailer, every online dating site you sign up for, every LinkedIn connection you make, every pic you post online, etc.  As illustrated in the book summary some companies are already using this data to allow or deny you to do business with them, in the future what will it look like when everyone is doing this.  Is this a good thing?  It can be.  You have to control your own conversations and your own digital footprint. Be aware of what you are putting out there, be careful of what you share.

Check out other book summaries at thebrianwillett.com

To your success and your future.

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