Virtual Ribbons

By Lila Elliott Test Account posted Jul 20, 2009 10:01 PM

I wanted to note that I've been working on making "virtual ribbons" to add to people's profiles to reward them/acknowledge them within the community.  After checking out a few sites such as, I really started to realize how much fun you could have with virtual ribbons in a private community. While I would feel a little odd going to a conference with the ribbon named "Queen" labeled across my name badge because it might be off-putting to those that don't know me, I would be okay with it on my virtual social profile because it would give me the opportunity to tell the story behind it and therefore, control the message and context behind it. The ability to provide stories and context behind who you are is one of the powers of the private social community that is often undervalued or missed. It is very easy to judge a book by its cover or misread social situations, but giving each person the opportunity to express themself through their own work--whether it is their writing, presentations, videos, images, connections, etc--provides context to the person and reduces the opportunity for misunderstanding. Having the ability to be transparent and be vulnerable through your social profile takes a little getting used to--especially for me as I am a severely private person in many respects---but I think the greater possibility of building deeper and more authentic connections vastly outweighs the risk of being scrutinized by others. As Lindy Dreyer likes to explain of blogs vs the web "you can control what you put in your blog and is about you and you. The web is about what others think of you".

Seems like the use of virtual ribbons in a 2-way street: the organization grants a set to members based on merit or reward and the individuals get to self-select or grant to peers allows for a new type of positive feedback cycle that allows people to more build on their tenuous connections to foster stronger bonds.