The Null Device

Online reputation management

The Realities of Online Reputation Management, an essay about the Internet's effect on reputation and spin.
Hate campaigns are surprisingly unsuccessful with the masses. Certainly hate sites attract the like-minded, and for awhile got good mainstream media attention. But again, the "Back" button. On the Web there is always another "channel." The ethnic slaughters in the wake of Yugoslavia's disintegration were largely blamed on inflammatory talk radio - and the absence of contrary opinion.
In a similar vein, at present it would probably be impossible to spread a false "oil shortage" story through the Internet, as the American oil companies and mainstream media did in 1972. In fact the Internet would probably demolish such propaganda in days. In 1972, it was not until months later that a merchant marine officer told me how his oil supertanker had been held off the New Jersey coast for six weeks at the height of the "oil shortage." Today, he would have emailed Matt Drudge.

Of course, the fact that the Internet has put paid to older forms of skulduggery doesn't mean that new, more subtle forms won't take their place. (via Slashdot)

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