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The Personal Reputation Tourism Phenomenon

I love the concept of financial tourism – a term referring to the act of logging into an electronic bank account to "visit" your money … just to check and verify that it’s still there.  But what about personal reputation tourism — the idea that some Internet users are spending minutes each day, hours each week simply engaging in activities to validate their egos and see what others have said about them?  When I started on ebay, I found myself logging in on occasion to check my feedback rating.  No other reason.  Sometimes I still do it, and it got me thinking about where this might fit in the spectrum of online activities.  It’s not online shopping, not online information gathering, just online validation seeking.  I am not talking about Googling my own name, though that may be a part of this idea.  I mean the phenomenon of logging into my Typepad account before heading into work to see any new comments, trackbacks or visitor stats.  I mean looking at a comment that I’ve posted on Amazon to see how many people have rated it. 

Rohitblog_opinityPeople care about their reputation, and in the online environment, they have a much more quantifiable way of measuring it (a group called Opinity has published some interesting thoughts in this area).  Do people like me?  Do they think I’m smart?  Well, no matter what someone may tell me – online I can look at what they have posted anonymously, or traffic levels to a particular blog post and get an idea for myself about where the truth lies.  And this external validation feels good – in a grade school kind of way, I begin to understand who likes me – and who doesn’t.  That in itself is a powerful notion, and one that I think has been a big part of what propels ecommerce sites, online communities, and even marketing campaigns to success.  Having the biggest product selection or the best interface cannot in themselves provide an emotional connection.  Personal reputation and ratings systems online can do that.

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About Rohit

A keynote speaker on trends, innovation, marketing, storytelling and diversity.

Rohit Bhargava is on a mission to inspire more non-obvious thinking in the world. He is the #1 Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of eight books and is widely considered one of the most entertaining and original speakers on disruption, trends and marketing in the world.

Rohit has been invited to keynote events in 32 countries … and over the past year, given more than 100 virtual talks from his home studio. He previously spent 15 years as a marketing strategist at Ogilvy and Leo Burnett and also teaches marketing and storytelling as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.

He loves the Olympics, actively hates cauliflower and is a proud dad of boys.

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