Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Lessons of the dog-poop girl: the internet is a cruel historian

For an engaging, thoughtful post about the role of the internet in enforcing social norms, see The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet.

Here's a sample:

In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne was forced by her colonial New England village to wear a scarlet letter A to represent her sin of adultery. The Internet is bringing back the scarlet letter in digital form – an indelible record of people’s past misdeeds. One commentator to Don Park’s post about the dog poop girl said it best: “Right or wrong, the internet is a cruel historian.”

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