Yes, I couldn’t resist offering ‘Fascinating’ as my response to a question I received on Facebook about my thoughts on Spock. Beyond the trekkie humor, there is a lot that is fascinating about Spock.

Spock is one of the newer social network sites. It scrapes the web to build profiles of people. There are other sites that have done similar things, but perhaps less effectively. What makes Spock interesting is the way relevance of information is determined. People can go in and vote on how relevant pieces of information, such as tags, websites, photographs, and so, are. There is some secret ranking based on these votes; how useful the votes were and how much they agree with other people voting.

All of this ties nicely back to the symposium on reputation economies that I attended recently. Users have some control over their reputations. Star Wars Kid and Dog Poop Girl could vote on certain information about them not being relevant. It might not be enough to stem the tide, but for smaller reputational events, it could have significance.

One aspect that seems to be missing from Spock is context. A recent quote that my daughter put up about me illustrates this. We have great fun around our family dining room table. Discussions range from the profound to the quirky; often providing a wonderful mix of both. Mairead has attributed a quote, “Well, the barbie princess had a long, hard day at work...” to me. I do not remember having said that, but it does sound like something that might have come up around our dinner table.

That quote is not relevant to the persona that I present as a political activist or as financial services technologist. Yet it is very relevant to my persona as a father with a strange sense of humor. Since most people looking at my Spock page will be looking at me in terms of my political activism or my work with technology and financial services, it is tempting to remove the quote. Yet it is relevant in one context, and I would hate to damage my daughter’s ‘Spock Power’ by removing something that is relevant to her context but not the context of a majority of visitors.

A friend of mine who wrote me asking for my thoughts about Spock said,

I’ve got some rather mixed thoughts these days of putting too much info online, but wondering if it's necessary for business. I've had some other soc. network invites too that I'm hesitant to get involved with--just don't know if it's necessary or important to join them.

One of my first thoughts is from Tom Friedman’s comment about everything being possible on the Internet and the question is, will you do it, or will someone else do it to you. In my friend’s case, there are already three different entries about her. One points to her LinkedIn page. Another points to a biography at a conference site. I do believe that my friend should get on Spock, as well as some other social network sites, and take a more active role in attempting to manage her reputation. Reputation management is important for business, and my sense is that Spock may become an important aggregator.

So, I continue to explore Spock. I attempt to connect with contacts via Spock. I even try to boost my Spock Power a little bit, and am envious of friends, and even my daughter, who have much better Spock Power. Live long, and prosper.

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