“Future of Reputation” and “Twitter and Tear Gas”

In “The Future of Reputation,” discusses the issue revolving around gossip, rumors, and privacy on the Internet. The author introduces the story about the women on the train who will forever be famously known as the “poop girl.” In South Korea a women on the subway train had her dog with her and went it used the bathroom on the train, she refused to pick it up telling others to mind their own business. Those who were on the train were outraged and took pictures of her and posted them on a popular Korean blog. Instantly, individuals who saw the blog ran with posters of the women’s photograph with multiple other ones, as well as mainstream media and news picking up the story. Not only did her story become popular in Korea, but also around the world. The women’s name and controversial story as the “poop girl” was dragged in many news and media outlets. When considering this story, the author questions about the privacy, norms, and life in this Information Age. Images can easily be captured and posted on the Internet for the world to see with a click of a mouse or a send of a button on your phone. Secrets can easily be shared about your life from yourself, family, friends, acquaintances, enemies, or even by people you don’t know. Although the Internet can be freeing, it can also lead to terrifying implications. According to the writer, he states that “ the future of the Internet involves not only the clash between freedom and control but also a struggle within the heart of freedom itself;” meaning that people have the freedom to share what they wish, however that information can hinder one’s opportunities in the future. Whether or not they wished to have that information shared or not, still puts a mark on the individual’s reputation. In addition, the norm police of the Internet are power-enforcing tools that track down individuals who violate the social norms of society. In the case of the “poop girl,” she violated a major social norm by not cleaning up her dog’s mess, which resulted in the huge amount of black lash online. Social norms are dynamic influential’s that control human construct of right and wrong. Hence, if you are shown in public defying a social norm, it is free range for anyone to capture the moment and post it online. Similarly, that moment can cause great destruction to your reputation and that private moment can be permanent baggage.

The next following work titled “ Twitter and Tear Gas,” illustrates how Tahrir activists in Cairo, Egypt were able to conduct live interviews international media outlets, and use twitter over contraband internet connections to voice their messages. After Egyptian police had beaten a young man to death, the Tahrir activists started their revolution to overthrow their leader Murbarak. To gain protestors, Facebook e-vites were sent out to join the revolution by just clicking “I’m attending,” as well as Twitter incorporated images of young activist displaying their messages. Simultaneously, Mubarak took notice of the occurrences happening online and had the Internet disconnected. That way activist could not promote their movement across the world nor could members rally together. However even with this stunt of no Internet, the activists were creative to access Twitter through the blockade by using cell phones over contraband Internet connections. Hence, Mubarak was forced to resign quickly after protestors regained entry to the Internet. This story is notable in how a movement was shaped through the uses of Digital communication that allowed the needed attention to overthrow a ruler.

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