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What if you could declare online reputation bankruptcy?

Posted: 09/13/10 06:00 AM

The web is becoming ever more interactive. And you’re expected to constantly feeding it information about yourself and your opinions. You report your location on Foursquare, you update your status (and/or location too) on Facebook, you review restaurants and books. And all along the way it’s like we’re completing these sketches of ourselves and each other. We each have an ever-thickening dossier of information attached to who we are.

Our guest, Jonathan Zittrain, is co-founder and co-director of The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. He sees this trend only continuing. What if you could get a big discount for car insurance but with the stipulation that you had to agree to rate other drivers’ driving ability AND agree to let them rate yours? And then your premium would be adjusted based on how other people think you’re doing out on the road? Sure, it would be creepy but maybe it’s a trade off you’d be willing to make in exchange for lower rates and safer roads.

But Zittrain wonders if we shouldn’t be able to switch it all off and declare what he calls reputation bankruptcy. A chance to erase ourselves from our digital trail and start over. Hit the reset button. We discuss the web that knows too much and how one might go about shutting it off.

Comments | Filed Under: facebook foursquare Jonathan Zittrain web culture social media

Who cares about Foursquare? Apparently, people with money.

 By Jeff Horwich // Posted: 06/30/10 11:51 AM

Put me in the camp of people who are still mystified by Foursquare. I think they got off on the wrong foot by first entering my world as a stream of unwelcome auto-Twitter posts. And even as I wrapped my head around the idea of “checking in” and becoming the Mayor of Starbucks, that doesn’t mean I comprehended why any of this was worth giving a rip.

But even I have to admit 1.8 million people-with-nothing-better-to-do are a trend worth heeding. And this week heavy-hitters in the venture capital community — folks who usually do their research post-bubble — have weighed in with $20 million that will allow Foursquare to expand its staff of 30 and move to New York (because if there’s one thing that’s a smart move for a tech startup, it’s taking on expensive office space).

Where people still struggle to comprehend the ways in which Twitter might make money, you can see why VCs would sniff more from Foursquare than the leftover scent of too many lattes consumed during a mayoral quest. The whole premise is inextricably linked to the retail industry. If you’re checking in on Foursquare, chances are 1) you’ve already got money, since you can afford that smartphone on your hip, and 2) you’re physically in a place where more money can be spent, like a coffee shop, restaurant, or Geek Squad break room at Best Buy.

It’s almost like Foursquare was designed… to make money to begin with! Now there’s a concept. And maybe that’s why it never quite smelled right to me.

Comments | Filed Under: devices foursquare geolocation

Tech News In Brief - 6/4/10

 by John Moe // Posted: 06/04/10 11:44 AM

Google data collection mess gets messier
 
China blocking Foursquare

U.S. Cyber Command wants to ‘operate freely’ to protect and defend computer resources

Is YouTube about to offer live streaming?
Because shouldn’t everything be more like Chatroulette?

Microsoft Patch Tuesday is coming. Stores have had decorations up for months, of course

Could Microsoft be buying AOL?
“Welcome! You’ve got Ballmer!”

Get energy from the stars

Car charging stations coming to town

Gadget tells you when you need a break. Thanks, gadget


Comments | Filed Under: google foursquare security youtube microsoft twitter aol energy

China blocking Foursquare

 by John Moe // Posted: 06/04/10 10:59 AM

China is blocking the mobile social media service Foursquare. People using/playing Foursquare use mobile devices to “check in” wherever they go and earn points or discounts as a result. The block may be related to a dramatic increase in people checking in at Tiananmen Square, site of the massacre which happened around this time in 1989. The check-ins are a form of protest.

 

Comments | Filed Under: china foursquare

Foursquare competitor Booyah raises 20 mil in VC funding

 by John Moe // Posted: 05/17/10 11:52 AM

Tech Crunch reports on Booyah raking in money as the location wars heat up. Booyah makes an app called MyTown which is growing rapidly. The difference between MyTown and FourSquare is that the former gives you challenges to accomplish at the locations you visit and turns the world into more of a game. The wager is that soon “check in” options will abound all over the web and world from Facebook and FourSquare and Google and all sorts of companies. AOL probably. But MyTown offers more and the hope, presumably, is that people will want to play the world and not just live in it.

 

Comments | Filed Under: foursquare location

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