Danish Authority

Ditte describes the Danish Janteloven, which is one of ways in which Denmark (and Sweden and Norway) are very unusual, open, and ‘flat’ societies (income distribution is very even compared to other western democracies, most social services are free – I used to work in Norway and one of my favourite bits was the group of junkies in the park behind the university, you’ve never seen a healthier bunch of junkies, happily chatting and saying good morning as you walked past). Anyway, Ditte contrasts this to social media. Two things. I was introduced to the importance of blogging by Scandanavians, precisely because it fits so well with these social democratic ideals. You can be an expert on a blog because you are an expert, not because someone else made you so, and you do this not by claiming to be an expert (which is what I get to do simply because I am employed by a university) but by contributing, freely, and letting others figure it out.

Important lesson about the emergence of authority (and therefore reputation) online: others grant it to you, you cannot claim it for yourself, no matter who you are. This is one of the most important ways in which it is a reputation network, you earn it through what you do.