Cognitive Surplus – Chapter 6

Personal, Communal, Public, Civic

For my own part, I’ve learned that trust is something that must be earned, on and offline. Back in the start-up days of eBay, I gave trust easily. People were eager to keep a good rating. So much so that within hours of ordering something, you’d start getting strongly worded emails to comment on their service. Personally, I want to get the item first. See how their response time is. If I really get the right item. I want to know for myself they are reputable before I give a blanket statement to that effect. I actually had a couple negative reviews written about me as a buyer because I wouldn’t give a positive review right after I purchased something. I lived in Germany. I wanted to actually get the item first. While that culture is still in existence, it doesn’t seem to be quite as bad these days. I ordered perfume from eBay a few weeks ago, haven’t done the seller review yet, and haven’t been hounded about it. Either that mentality isn’t out there anymore, or I found a seller without a giant pickle up their ass. Or both.

Not every transaction on eBay ends favorably tho. I’ve been burned too. I bought an in-game-use item and when I received it it had already been redeemed. Nothing I can do about it. The seller denies it, and says I used it. It’s a digital item. Basically, I have to write that money off. Needless to say that seller didn’t get a favorable review. Sometimes you have a good experience, sometimes not. I’ve learned to treat each new seller with caution, and trust after I see that they’re trustworthy. Never before.

The online world is a large, more volatile place than the real world. I don’t like placing myself in a public spectrum. I’m a very private person, for many reasons. My FaceBook is locked down so only my friends can see my information. That information is sparse. And everyone who is a friend, I know them. No stranger-friends allowed. Online networks can burn you just as easily as an eBay seller. For this class in particular, we had to sign up for LinkedIn, a professional FaceBook, if you will. I tried to keep the information at a minimum, but I haven’t found a way to lock it down. And honestly, why would you, it’s a site for linking up in a professional manner. But because I signed up on that site and I was searchable, someone with less than honest intentions managed to track me down. Where I hadn’t been answering my home phone or cell phone when they called, they found out from LinkedIn where I worked, used Google, found the work number, and started calling there. One of my coworkers, thinking he was being helpful, confirmed that I worked there, even going so far as to give them my nickname and tell them when they could reach me, so they could ask to speak to me in a way that wouldn’t alarm me. I’ve since gone on LinkedIn and changed that job to a past job, I.e.: that I no longer work there. The situation isn’t the fault of the network, it’s a flaw in the design and a demonstration of how an unscrupulous individual can abuse the system. After this class is over, I’ll be deleting that profile entirely. I trusted too much to an unfamiliar online community and I got burned for it.

I’ll be more careful in the future, and so should you.