i3 conference held this week at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland. Frances Ryan presented a paper coauthored with Hazel Hall, Alistair Lawson and Peter Cruickshank on Assessing the available and accessible evidence: How personal reputations are determined and managed online. Her presentation is already on slideshare at http://www.slideshare.net/justfrances/ryan-presentationi3online with lots of references at the end.
The key terms she defined were “Identity”, “Reputation” and “Real world”. With the latter term, there are blurred lines between online and offline environments (as people are active, and may have reputations, both online and offline), and the question “If you’re not online, are you real” has emerged (e.g. employers looking online for evidence of expertise). She was drawing on literature from several disciplinary fields. This review of the literature shows that: employers do conduct social media reviews, and not just before people take up their jobs; friend and friends of friends can have an impact on your reputation (including – who are you not connected with and; considering you responsible for the actions of people you are connected with); there are issues around anonymity and pseudonyms; the extent of self-regulation and censorship.
The gaps that Ryan had identified for the doctoral study she’s undertaking including various aspects of how and why people are managing their reputations. She is also looking at how people assess the reputations of others. Ryan is at the pilot study stage, using mainly qualitative approach. She was welcoming suggestions for sample and methods!
Photo by Sheila Webber: through a window at Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven, Scotland, June 2015