Shelfari and the New Social Contract

The high value we’ve come to place in reputation on the Web is underscored in several ways by the recent dustup  over Shelfari. In short, Shelfari is being called out (primarily, but definitely not exclusively, by Tim Spalding, of competitor LibraryThing) for two violations of the norms of that reputation system:

While Shelfari CEO Josh Hug has posted something that might be called an apology/explanation regarding the spamming, when considered alongside the rampant AstroTurfing, claims of benign neglect lose their credibility.

What is particularly telling is the profound sense of violation (and deep embarrassment) expressed by those who feel duped:

Our personal social networks are not only more valuable than ever to us, but also to businesses, in particular those whose success requires social transmission. Smart ones will avoid pissing in the well.

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