“The Future of Reputation” by Daniel J. Solove: a book report by Jennifer Jones

When it comes to the internet, we all are aware of the great power it holds; whether that power is used for the good or the bad, we (those who use it on a daily basis) can’t deny the effect’s it has in our lives. In ‘The Future of Reputation‘ by Daniel J. Solove he goes on to name numerous events and ways the internet is used to portray the actual power it gives its users, unknowingly. He tells of how through the internet we can share stories of our lives by posting pictures, videos, and blog post or we can use the internet to share someone else’s life, and turn it upside down, or ultimately give them the upper-hand.

When we post things to internet we have to be very careful and make sure that before we hit “send” we understand that anyone have access to this information. In the beginning of Solove’s book he gives an example of how within minutes your personal life can be affected by the internet. He stated “on a subway train in South Korea. A young women’s small dog pooped in the train. Other passengers asked her to clean it up, but she told them to mind their own business… someone took photos of her and posted them on a popular Korean blog.” This went viral in South Korea, and in America. It was shared it on a blog that had an average ten million visits per month. This gave lead way all her privacy, which lead her to drop out of her university.  0poopgirl0

“Personal privacy is no longer an individual thing,” said Harold Abelson, the computer science professor at M.I.T. “In today’s online world, what your mother told you is true, only more so: people really can judge you by your friends.” Solove makes it clear that you can very be the cause of how your own privacy becomes jeopardized. In his novel you will see multiple examples of someone who posted their own personal information onto a  blog that was meant to be personal, and had pure intentions but once the general public got a hold of it, that person’s life drastically changed. The person got fired from their job, and suffered massive consequences, all of which are illustrations of how the internet is a massive tool in today’s up-coming technological world. Solove informs us numerous times, to be careful, because even if your intentions are good, they can easily be flipped, and so can your life, in the long run.

To sum up his book, Solove proposes a very good question, “what does the future hold for our reputation?” This question is great for numerous reasons, one being that if we all continue down this path of must-tell-everyone-what-I-am-doing in our personal lives onto the internet, even if we intend to just tell our close friends and families about the small delicacies in our day-to-day lives, are we still prone to being a huge mockery to the World Wide Web and beyond, or will their come a day when people will respect each others personal life, on and off the internet.

This book is great for various reasons, and is especially suitable for this day and age. To know how things can impact your life, on and offline is great. This books tells all the good and bad about being active online. And I highly recommend most of my peers– who are in high school or college– to read this book, and let these people who stories went viral be a lesson to them. Because, ” In a few simple, clicks, teens are able to post text, pictures and video on the Internet. With that, a door of infinite possibilities for others to see sensitive information is opened.” It’s vital that they know not to post things online that you feel as though you are going to later regret, your future reputation depends on it, because “Colleges, universities and employers are increasingly doing background checks on applicants for a position. The easiest way for them to do this is to search for you online, be it by searching for you on Facebook, Twitter or on Google.” Solove’s novel ‘The Future of Reputation‘ is exceptionally great at hitting the key points of these topics, and helping one become award of the damages caused by carelessness on the internet.


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