Pew study: The web is redefining our relationships, reputations

Most people agree that the internet has and will continue to be positive for social relations. But according to a survey by the Pew Research Center, it’s also presented many more challenges, and perhaps opportunities, for how reputations are made, tarnished, and remade, reports the Washington Post. In its annual future of social relations survey, the Pew Internet & American Life Project asked 895 experts how eMail, social networking sites, and video conferencing, among other applications, are redefining the way we think of relationships. “As information shrinks our world, it will become easier for one’s misdeeds to return to them or for outbursts of regrettable behavior to be reported and shared,” said Stuart Schechter, a researcher for Microsoft and former staff member of MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory. “For better or worse, technology makes the citizenry its own Big Brother. Some will welcome this as transparency; others will feel oppressed.” Privacy and security experts say users need to be as concerned about how their reputations online are being translated to peers and employers…

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