Does your online history matter?

Do you agree with this?

“I just celebrated my ten-year blogging anniversary. I started blogging when I was 19, and before that, I regularly posted to public mailing lists, message boards, and Usenet. I grew up with this technology, and I’m part of the generation that should be embarrassed by what we posted. But I’m not—those posts are part of my past, part of who I am…..”

Read more of this posting from danah boyd. It is another and extremely interesting viewpoint on the issue of how our reputation could be influenced by our online activities, particularly when it refers to today’s teenagers and what they want to achieve tomorrow. Reading this I wonder if it is us, are we -my generation and older- just too inhibited by society norms… and the online social networking space is just throwing these to the wind! Maybe it’s a good thing?

6 Replies to “Does your online history matter?”

  1. Based upon what you said, don’t you think though despite the type of online networking that it is a great facilitator for equality 🙂
    in that we don’t judge by looks or otherwise but by what is in our minds?

  2. Hi Karen – it’s true that people joined the conferencing systems for specifically technical reasons. In my case it was to converse with fellow Atari ST users, but I then found the PC and Windows conferences useful as my computing career developed. Over time though technical information became more easily available on the public Internet and my use for Cix became much more social. By the time I left the only conference I was active in was “bikes” which seemed to discuss everything except motorbikes!

    Cix was also interesting because it attracted a wide range of weirdos and social misfits. Precisely because there was so little “real world” information about the people behind the online ID, their reputation was built on what they wrote, rather than what they looked like or how they said it. Meeting face to face was often a shock but hairy, scary looking people I might have steered away from in a pub had already proven themselves to be interesting and thoughtful online, so the bridge was built.

    I don’t see similar communities building online in the same way today because they appear to be more superficial, more about tagging people than having the meaningful discussions, more about posting a picture than a 1000 words. I would be happy to be proved wrong because I really miss the late night debates on Cix.

  3. Hi Steve, you old timer 😉

    I agree with you in part, but these old conferencing systems were only frequented by the elite technical community around at that time and had very specific purposes. I know as I was in Compuserve for a time myself before moving to CERN where I became immersed in a whole new world.

    However I don’t agree that they were superior, they were just different. How they are similar to what we have today is that within these communities you were able to build online reputations. Today people are more voicing what they think about anything. This keeps us in touch with each other, and for myself this often gives me something to think about before making my next posting!

    As to the quality of postings, it really depends on which spaces you are mingling in. Clearly in the physical world if you choose to frequent a pub in a part of town where the reputation is that you will see some action, you should get what you came for, however if you want something more intellectually changing, go to the opera and meet with a different crowd. It is the same online. However who am I to teach ‘grandma to suck eggs’, didn’t you and your beautiful wife meet online? :o)

  4. It makes me smile to read about ten year bloggers who think they are the senior citizens of the Internet. I started using computer conferences (Cix) in 1989 and, coincidentally, have spent the last hour discussing with my wife how Blogs, Facebook and other social networking sites aren’t a patch on the good old conferencing systems like Bix, Cix and Compuserve because they don’t support articulate discussion. Facebook is like communicating through t-shirt slogans and blogs are largely a write only medium (sorry Karen!).
    It seems to me the quality of the interaction has decreased as the sophistication of the “social networking” sites has increased.

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