So one of the things the folks building the i-name services will be building in with global launch is reputation services provided by Opinity (http://www.opinity.com) for messaging (e-mail, IM, phone calls etc.). The goal is to build in feedback to prevent bad behavior.
One of the instigators of the Berkeley Breakfast Cabal Ben Gross is publishing a paper on E-mail as Ritual Gift Exchange. It seems that there is an interesting use case to consider around reputation and messaging. There is a difference between forwarding a quirky e-mail or amusing link to friends and network colleagues.
Forwarding a quirky email or an amusing link or video attachment to colleagues may seem innocent enough, but it is the modern equivalent of ritual gift exchange and carries with it similar social implications, say US researchers.
Email forwarding is a familiar part of modern email communications, and has spawned many an internet phenomenon, the Star Wars kid, the Numa Numa dance, and Oolong the rabbitto name just a few.
Benjamin Gross at the University of Illinois, US, and colleagues studied email forwarding behaviour by conducting informal interviews among email users. He says forwarding emails plays a vital role in constructing and maintaining modern social ties, despite the phenomenon receiving scant attention from social scientists.
Update on Ben. he has re-branded his messaging work as identity management and is having success interviewing with ‘big’ internet companies for a job.