Web version 2.0 has revolutionized our lives and has radically changed our way of relating to the world. There is no longer only one reality, the sensible, where we relate and interact. There is at least one more and it is becoming less and less virtual and more and more concrete. Social networks and e-commerce have transferred communication and business to the Internet. Suffice it to think of sites like Amazon, Groupon, eBay and the like. Online markets where you can by everything at better prices than a store or a large retailer would ask of you. Besides, the Internet allows us to make financial transactions from our office or from home, which means we can optimize time without having to subtract any of it to work or private life to do these things.
Every age produces means that are functional to it. Just as our grandparents went to the market and small shops to make provisions of goods and services, we rely on the Web, our immense digital market. And exactly as it happened in little villages, were people rumored about the reliability of a shop owner, today users provide feedbacks, which guide our choices. This is the vast field of web reputation. Just think of TripAdvisor. How many of us check its reviews at present before picking out a restaurant where to go on a Saturday night?
Digital reputation thus becomes a means to make profit and there are two consequences to this: on the one hand, service providers will be encouraged to improve their offers and to provide a timely answer to their customers, not to disappoint them, or to their crafty competitors (and they do exist, believe me…); on the other hand, it makes room for a new area of business initiative, mainly focused on taking care of the companies’ image on the Web.
Social recruiting, that is to say, the screening of candidates for a certain job position by monitoring their social profiles, is also a part of this environment. Not only Linkedin, but also Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. There are characteristics – such as personal interests, having or not having a position on certain issues, their political ideas and so on – that may affect the performance of the potential future employee even more than her or his CV.
At this point, a question arises. If the network has become the “place” where we buy things we need in our daily lives, or where the future of our business or professional life is decided, if bloggers and portals inform us constantly about what is happening around us, does it make sense to keep considering the Web a mere reproduction of real life? The answer is no.
Fear is legitimate. Because this “parallel world” is largely unexplored and presents dangers that cannot be quantified yet. It is a continent. We barely know its coasts, but we cannot but go on exploring the heartland. All revolutions are accompanied by skepticism and fears. When our ancestors passed from oral tradition to the written, many people expressed their concerns. One of the things they said, was that transcribing ancient myths would have crystallized their content, making them invariable, eliminating that component of improvisation that made these myths vital. Their fears wear not different from our own. But consider this: if that idea had prevailed and writing had disappeared right after its invention, there would be no books today.