Is “Reputational Risk” Skewed in Web 3.0?

All this sharing and big data allows companies to micro target customers.  It allows the NSA to snoop on everyone.  It also allows organizations with an agenda to target people and companies for destruction.

One of the virtues of the internet is transparency.  If you go on social media sites and follow me, you might be able to get a small sense of who I am.  At least there will be several touchpoints that you can use as a conversation starter.

I remember Howard Tullman giving a talk a few years ago.  He talked about how social media will allow us to create silos of people from all over the world interacting on a common theme.  For example, if there is a scuba diving group, people from all over the world could join the group, share photos, thoughts, and experiences.  They could collaborate, or not. They could choose to meet, or not.  But they’d all have the common thread of scuba diving.

Tullman expanded, within those silos thought leaders will emerge.  Opinion leaders.  Websites like Klout were the first attempt at categorizing and quantifying how much influence someone had.

Sounds pretty cool.  Until it isn’t.

The thought police and political correctness movement police the web pretty aggressively.  For example, Dan Henninger wrote this in the Wall Street Journal today.

A coalition that included the Sierra Club, RootsAction and the Center for Media and Democracy said it outputted 230,000 petition signatures in a “Don’t Fund Evil” drive to separate Google  ($GOOG) from “right-wing extremists” at ALEC, whose sin is “climate denial.” The Sierra Club’s site says Kraft ($KRFT), GE ($GE) and McDonald’s ($MCD) pulled away from ALEC in the past under pressure. To date, none of the Web companies have done so.

In coverage of the effort on a FastCompany website, one activist remarked: “It’s definitely a reputational risk for these forward-looking companies like Google and Facebook ($FB)  and Yelp ($YELP) to keep their membership in ALEC.”

Global warming fanatics treat global warming like a religion, not a science.  They are using social media and the government bureaucracy to stop free speech. It is of no matter to them if data proves their theories are flawed, they aren’t interested in facts.  The Obama administration used the IRS to come down hard on conservative groups that opposed it’s agenda.

No one hears much about it because it’s conservatives that are being targeted.  If the shoe was on the other foot, every mainstream news organization in America would be shouting about discrimination from the mountain tops and lawsuits would be filed.

Henninger concludes,

Threatening companies that participate in politics with reputational destruction is the American left’s version of Maoist shaming sessions. Modern Red Guards don’t hang signs around your neck. Their weapon of choice is modern media.

That goes for individuals too.  The micro targeting causes less transparency.  It causes people not to engage for fear of being targeted.  It seems to me the radical wings of each political party try and make every single thing a political movement.  They can find injustices in just about every situation.

Yesterday I wrote about net neutrality.  It sounds so good in principle because of the phrase “neutrality”.  Most people want to see themselves as reasonable, and middle of the road.

One of the reasons right wingers oppose net neutrality is because it will allow the big players to determine what gets access to the internet, and what doesn’t.  Imagine the stress they would face if they were confronted with an onslaught of social media and traditional media pressure spewing half truths and stories about an organization or individual.

If you think it’s farfetched, think again.  It happens all the time.  Today I saw a Facebook post that said Aldi had 100% horsemeat in their hamburger.  Really?  If one were inclined, they could try to search for the root of it and I bet it’s some fanatic with an agenda.

With groupthink and the left wing mass media, it’s not hard to see how scarlet letters could be hung everywhere on causes the hard left didn’t like.  On many issues, people react emotionally out of fear and refuse to think logically.  Once the internet was shut down to opponents, it would be hard to counter act.

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