Sense-Making 101 Knowledge Base

Reputation and Credibility

As Fast Company writes, in the information age where fake news is rampant, “the only antidote is our ability to judge the reputation of the people supplying us with information.” 

Gloria Origgi continues by stating “we are experiencing a fundamental paradigm shift in our relationship to knowledge. From the “information age,” we are moving towards the “reputation age,” in which information will have value only if it is already filtered, evaluated, and commented upon by others. Seen in this light, reputation has become a central pillar of collective intelligence today. It is the gatekeeper to knowledge, and the keys to the gate are held by others. The way in which the authority of knowledge is now constructed makes us reliant on what are the inevitably biased judgments of other people, most of whom we do not know.”

Reputation is the outcome of our collective sense-making. As each of us engages in our sense-making process, we begin to build coherence about the environment, topic, situation, or idea in question. As we process and make sense of information we begin to build an understanding of which information sources are credible and which are dubious. While we may or may not choose to fully outsource our sense-making, we can take clues from fellow sense-makers we trust and choose to rely on reputation, the collective perception of credibility. 

“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”—Benjamin Franklin

Because reputation is fairly fickle, particularly amidst the current trend of “cancel culture”, collective sense-making is an effective tool at up-regulating quality sources and down-regulating shoddy mal-,mis-, or dis-information.

A few tips to establish reputation:

  • Practice Media Literacy to effectively parse your information landscape
  • Familiarize yourself with deception and disinformation to build a base of understanding about how to perceive reputation and credibility
  • Build your network of trusted sense-makers to whom you can outsource sense-making or at the minimum source curation
  • Visit the credible info sources 

Sources:

Say Goodbye to the Information Age: It’s All About Reputation Now by Gloria Origgi in Fast Company (accessed February 2021)

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