Today, everyone’s second self is encoded in contrails of data: pictures, ratings, clicks, tweets, searches and purchases. Corporations and governments rake over this information and fix us in it: we are subjected to the scrutiny applied to celebrities but without the fame or the free stuff. In one possible future, everyone will be ranked like hotels on TripAdvisor. In one possible present, in fact: the Chinese government is implementing a scheme that will give each of its 1.4 billion citizens a score for trustworthiness, with the stated aim of building a culture of “sincerity”.
Ian Leslie looks into the question of reputation through the review of two books: Reputation: What It Is and Why It Matters by Gloria Origgi and The Reputation Game: The Art of Changing How People See You by David Waller and Rupert Younger. It is an interesting read, especially in light of everything about Harvey Weinstein and the media men list.