Evan Williams, Mena Trott, Caterina Fake, Lili Cheng and Amy Jo Kim have gotten off to a rollicking discussion of our private selves, our public selves, and our cyber-selves. They’re extending Jonathan Schwarz’s talk on trust.
Trust structures on the Internet are complicated. Not just because it can be difficult to quantify who you trust to provide you information*, but also because it’s difficult to control who accesses your online persona. And even the implications of this are not so clear-cut. Amy Jo Kim mentions that when she blogs, she must accept having no idea which strangers are reading it or how they’ll use the information. Evan Williams points out that for some, the concern isn’t strangers, but acquaintances or coworkers. Caterina Fake paraphrases a David Weinberger anecdote — in the world around us, strangers mean danger; on the Internet, they mean connection.
So how do we create trust networks that can serve these diverse approaches? I didn’t hear any direct answers from the panel, but it’s a big question, so I forgive.
Interesting question from Amy Jo Kim: The kids who are blogging today, taking photos every day, writing their lives in public, what expectations are they creating for the future?
* I love my mother very much, but two of the last three e-mails she sent were quickly debunked in a trip to Snopes.com. Sorry, mom, you don’t get to filter my news.