People use social networking tools to figure out who they can trust and rely on for decision making. By the end of this decade, power and influence will shift largely to those people with the best reputations and trust networks, from people with money and nominal power. That is, peer networks will confer legitimacy on people emerging from the grassroots.
Update: Newmark recently told Mathew Ingram “that managing trust and reputation online was “the next big problem for the web,” and called some form of distributed trust system “the killingest of killer apps.””
What it means: this trend is a key building block for word of mouth and recommendation systems.