Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Affiliation as it relates to reputation

I first noticed it with Yahoo! Avatars and their sponsorship of WorldCup. Mixed in with jerseys from various teams, you could choose your cause such as One.org, Breast Cancer awareness, World AIDS day, and the like. Now according to a recent article, YouthNoise and Meez are getting into this game as well.

YouthNoise, a community meant to inspire and empower young people to catapult their passion and idealism into movements that sustain the planet, teamed up with Meez, a company that helps people create their own 3D avatars. For some time, Meez has hosted virtual clothing by real life brands. It makes sense that virtual cloting for causes would take shape.

All this has me thinking about one's overall reputation and representation online. With services like Yahoo! Avatars, Meez, Acheivements on Xbox, or even tagging on 43 People, isn't affiliation with a group or cause an important part of reputation? The actions that done by people (online or off), the time they spend with a product or service, and the content (information) they share all help others gauge the relevance of content found online. Does it not go to reason that one's affiliations can also play a role in helping others gauge the value of the contributions of another online?

Also, what of overall preferences? What else could be shown/discovered to help provide people with a greater context with who they find online? What would this look like? Where would it show? To whom would it be shown? Also, what would it look like if you and others could upload tags/clothing/etc for others to see? What sort of control would you have over your profile according to others? Is that even a concern?

Certainly there comes a point when too much information right off the bat is just not useful at all. But what is that threshhold? Who determines it? What may be relevant information for you in evaulating content contributed by someone online may be worthless to me.

Anyway, lots of thoughts to ponder. Thankfully, it's still early with all of this and we're all just getting started.

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