metro >> Jews in the digital age
Reconstructs Social Media
Local cosmetic surgeon launches controversial social networking site.
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"The world is broken. What if we had
a resource to assess who we meet? Would
we be able to make better decisions about
what we do in life? Would people be self-
reflective after they get a review? Would
they change?" he wondered.
Gray felt the social networking sites
already in existence, such as Facebook,
were not helpful because the users were in
control of their profiles and able to create
the type of persona they wanted to portray.
So Gray began to envision a social net-
working site that would promote greater
self-awareness and help people become
better. What he came up with will, no
doubt, be met with mixed reactions.
In an exlusive interview with the JN,
Gray talks about Pegged (pegged.com ), the
social networking site he will introduce to
the public in a news conference May 31.
A New Social Network
Pegged will be controversial. The network-
ing site (a mobile app is in production and
will be released soon) will be a painful
reality for many people. All social net-
working sites currently allow users to cre-
ate their own profile, but in an interesting
twist on the idea of social network profile
creation, Pegged allows someone else to
create a person's profile.
If you don't like the waitress at the
restaurant you can "peg" her by creating
an account and detailing why she missed
the mark. If a former friend is spreading
rumors about you, you'll have the oppor-
tunity to publicly call him out on his trans-
gression. On the other end, the site will be
beneficial for those looking to hire or date
someone with more accurate data available
for background checks.
"When I hire staff for my practice, all
candidates look great on their resume and
in their initial interview:' Gray explained.
"It usually takes about six months for their
true colors to show. I just don't have time
for that, so I want to be able to look some-
one up and immediately understand what
type of person they really are:'
Gray believes the "opinion-built profile"
through the assessment of others will be a
tool that could allow Pegged to ultimately
make humanity better. While the process
won't be without pain, he thinks it will be
12 May 30 • 2013
If you knew, would you ...
date, marry or hire them?
a path to insight.
"The web and mobile app will be enter-
taining and fun, but at its core, the inten-
tion is to bring people into accountability
for their interactions with others and to
offer them opportunities for self-reflection
How It Works
Through the comments and
ratings made by others on a
profile, Pegged follows people
in their daily lives of social
interaction and assigns them
a "humanity score:' Over
time, a graph will be produced
showing the ups and downs
(positives and negatives) of the
quality of that person's interac-
tions chronologically in their
Gray believes this graph will
give users valuable informa-
tion about whether to date, hire, work
for or join a group with another person.
Individuals will rate and review each other
anonymously, which will no doubt be one
of the more controversial aspects of the
Concerned about bullying, Gray insists
many safeguards are built into the system
so that no one is being rated based on
religion, gender, race, age or sexual orien-
tation, and there is always the opportunity
to respond to any comment.
Gray wouldn't describe the way in which
Pegged will prevent bullying, but says it
will be similar to the measures Facebook
implements to keep hate speech and abuse
off its site. To resolve conflict between two
parties, Gray is hoping to add a basis for
mediation on the site.
The most controversial element of this
platform is that even if a person chooses to
live anonymously and social-media-free,
unless one avoids people all
together, someone will even-
tually join him or her to the
"You can live like an ostrich
with your head in the sand and
pretend Pegged doesn't exist,
or you can participate and
maintain some control through
responding to posts about you:'
Gray said. "Of course, you will
get people who lie or who are
haters, but in the long run, I
believe that if you're a good per-
son, it's going to pan out:'
Gray is known for helping people
improve their external image, but in this
new endeavor, he might have created the
technology to help people do their own
surgery on their character. Perhaps Pegged
will be a tool to better help individuals
prepare for the process of repentance on
Rabbi Jason Miller is the JN's technology
expert. He's an entrepreneur, educator, blog-
ger, speaker and writer on the intersection of
technology and Judaism. Follow him on Twitter
`!.. At its core, the
intention is to
bring people into
with others and
to offer them
opportunities for self
— Dr. Michael Gray
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