does-authenticity-mean-anonymity

Christopher Poole (AKA moot), founder of 4chan, pushed through a hangover to take the stage at SXSW where he challenged corporatist Mark Zuckerburg on anonymity citing, “Mark Zuckerberg has kind of equated anonymity with a lack of authenticity, almost a cowardice.” The comments seemed to echo sentiment in a blog post by Steve Cheney that sparked a sharp response from Robert Scoble over the adoption of Facebook’s commenting engine on Tech Crunch. Scoble sides with Zuckerberg stating, “I ONLY post opinions I’m willing to sign my name to, lots of people are actually cowards and just not willing to sign their names to their mealy-mouthed attacks.”

Scoble went on to say:

Where did my authenticity come from? I knew that REAL change comes from people putting their necks on the line. I couldn’t remember a time when an anonymous person really enacted change in, well, anything. It’s why I sign my name to everything, even stuff that could get me fired.

Scoble’s response article garnered comments from both sides of the fence. Some of the more notable:

“I couldn’t remember a time when an anonymous person really enacted change in, well, anything.”

Boston Tea Party, 1773.

Took me all of 2 seconds to come up with it. Sorry for the wait, but I rarely read your stuff. Oh, and it was a bunch of persons, not just one, but then the participants’ anonymity was on conspicuous display (pun intended). Hope I still get an ‘A’.

and

There are four types of people:

1. Famous people (like yourself)
2. People with the same name as a famous person
3. People with common names (e.g. John Smith)
4. People with rare names

(1) don’t want anonymity.

(2) need to post under a different name or they will be accused of impersonation (feel sorry for everyone called Bill Gates).

(3) get anonymity by default as no one can tell which John Smith it is.

(4) sometimes want to take advantage of the anonymity they get by not using their real name.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, authenticity is the new anonymity.

The war over true cyber anonymity is gearing up for finale. Some argue (in America at least) that the final nail came with adoption of the IPv6 internet protocol. So now with online anonymity waning (or at least becoming extremely difficult) and social technologies, such as Facebook’s social graph, moving us toward seamless integration (read: social profile unity). It’s not far fetched to consider a not-so-distant future where screen names have the same shrouding effect as phone numbers.

The next chapter in the saga is authenticity, or perhaps, how you use your lack of anonymity.

The challenge is contributing on behalf of yourself, everywhere, all the time. Not just the polished professional blog post but the comment you left on YouTube regarding the 12 year old cellist. Remember? “YOU SUCK!!!1″ ..oops.

Steve Cheney argues:

Face it, authenticity goes way down when people know their 700 friends, grandma, and 5 ex-girlfriends are tuning in each time they post something on the web.

The counterargument of course is: (Anonymity = trolls + astroturfing) resulting in unauthentic online behavior.

This has been coming down the pipe for years. Early adopters of the thinning veil of anonymity have seized the opportunity to craft a social presence beneficial to careers, professional positioning or simply egotistical aspirations. Why? Because if you can’t hide online, then engineer how people perceive you.

It’s hard to say whether our online reality is simply augmenting our tangible reality or if it has become something more; an extension of self and the responsibility that goes along with it? What is apparent is that we live in an increasingly connected state where behaviors and sentiment are indeed attributed back to the contributor, some intentionally, some unintentionally. Seeing the battle for authenticity for what it really is (another milestone in social profile unification) helps to understand your personal stake in the implications of a transparent web.

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web-community

Web community affiliation refers to a community of members who generally congregate based on dissimilar or diversified interests and have little, if any, peer to peer association with each other, outside of personal associations. Web communities are generally much larger than hub or pool communities as their appeal is in the personalized collection of micro-networks of personal or professional associations within the larger community.

Where is web community affiliation useful?

The very unfocused nature that promotes web communities to grow so vast is also what makes them so difficult to monetize. Monetization by nature requires that you understand and appeal to your core demographic. If there is any low hanging fruit in developing a revenue model around web communities it must be something that appeals to most people as a necessity, such as a service fee, or low-impact desire,  such as the impulse-buys strategically located by the checkout of grocery stores. Find something that appeals to everyone or something that appeals to the largest clusters within the community, separately.

Silo-ed interest indicates potential concentrations of unique market-worthy demographics. For web communities existing online, dividing the community into segments based on similar participant responses through polling, games, statements of approval or buying habits may be the best indication of how or what to offer for conversion.

By far the best use of web communities is not in what they promote but who they promote. Relationships and shared information between users, by in large, is the real currency and usefulness of the web community model.

What is an example of a typical web community affiliation?

Web communities are the beaches, parks and playgrounds of the community world. Facebook, linked In and MySpace are all good examples of web communities…which also explains their piss-poor monetization models.

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hack-alert-wordpress-2.8.4

There is a new hack floating around targeting a security vulnerability in WordPress versions up to 2.8.3 so unless you’ve upgraded WordPress in the last few weeks I recommend you upgrade to the newest version pronto.

The hack seems to exploit a vulnerability in the way WordPress handles it’s users and allows the first user’s password to be reset. The first user is generally an Admin.

Here’s some detail from WordPress:

WordPress 2.8.4: Security Release
Posted August 12, 2009 by Matt. Filed under Releases, Security.

Yesterday a vulnerability was discovered: a specially crafted URL could be requested that would allow an attacker to bypass a security check to verify a user requested a password reset. As a result, the first account without a key in the database (usually the admin account) would have its password reset and a new password would be emailed to the account owner. This doesn’t allow remote access, but it is very annoying.

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