Belle Lettre on The Future of Reputation

Belle Lettre, the pseudonymous blogger at Law & Letters, has posted a very thoughtful and interesting review of my book, The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet. It is unlike most reviews that typically summarize ideas in the book and quickly react; Belle Lettre has really engaged the issues and arguments of the book at an intellectual and personal level. She also has interesting musings about blogging pseudonymously, shaming, privacy, sharing personal information, and more. From the review:

One of Solove’s take-away points is that privacy is fluid: we might violate our own privacy all the time to our friends, but we are appalled when strangers know our business. Privacy is not rigid, it is fluid–but it has not altogether disappeared either. I would call it “bounded,” that we have a certain expectation of privacy between our friends, a different type amongst our colleagues, and limited to our geographic area. The Internet takes this boundedness and destroys the borders. On the other hand, the internet expands the bounds of “public concern”—if it reaches the Internet, everyone believes they have a right to know, a stake in their interest, and a freedom to opine, snark, shame. Boundaries are shattered and expanded, but nothing is contracted. The context is everything, the readership entirely determinative of interpretation: but even though privacy has its bounds, they mean almost nothing on the Internet. Before, public stonings occurred in the town square, but that is an example of a bounded community of norm-enforcement: four corners, only a certain number of people, and only those with an actual interest-stake participated. Not so, now, with the vast blogospheric public square. The one to cast the first stone may not be the one with the highest interest-stake, but rather the one with the most vitriol with the biggest voice.

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