Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Social Media Metric Arrives

In "The End of Preparation" I wrote that:
The method of assessing a portfolio is deferred to the final observer. You may be interested in someone else's opinion or you may not be. It's simply there to inspect. Once this is established, third parties will undoubtedly create a business out of rating portfolios for suitability for your business if you're too busy to do it yourself.
It turns out that third parties aren't waiting on portfolios. If you read the I-ACT article, you may recall that participation in professional social networks like are part of what goes in my ideal portfolio. These professional networks are not developed yet for every discipline, but there is a company using lowest-common-denominator social networks to rate your overall social impact. The site is Here's what they say:
People have always had the power to influence others, and that power is being democratized with new social media tools. Klout's mission is to provide insights into everyone's influence. We measure your influence based on your ability to drive action in social networks. We process this data on a daily basis to give you an updated Klout Score each morning. Here are a few of the actions we use to measure influence:
I didn't want to give them my Twitter or Facebook password so they could calculate my score. In any event, it can't be very large on their log scale from 1-100:
The average Klout Score is actually 20, not 50. As your Score increases, it becomes exponentially harder to increase your Klout. That's why you see so many 20s and not as many 90s!
I learned about Klout from Reddit (see comments there), which points to a Wired article "What Your Klout Score Really Means" by Seth Stevenson. The article describe the experience of a candidate for a VP position at a marketing agency:
The interviewer pulled up the web page for—a service that purports to measure users’ online influence on a scale from 1 to 100—and angled the monitor so that [the candidate] could see the humbling result for himself: His score was 34. “He cut the interview short pretty soon after that,” [the candidate] says. Later he learned that he’d been eliminated as a candidate specifically because his Klout score was too low. “They hired a guy whose score was 67.”
At present, using such a crude instrument probably only damages the hiring process, and is awfully shortsighted. But this is just the beginning. For mathematics, you can already browse to see the reputation on this social site devoted to research-level mathematics. The user with the highest assigned reputation is Joel David Hamkins. Take a look at his page there and see how rich it is with information about his professional life.

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