The Case of Social Reputation

If you are in some way related to social media you’ve heard about social reputation. There are lots of services that calculate your social reputation and give you some analytics about it. These include Klout, Peerindex, Kred. But the what’s the point? Each of these services will tell you theirs is unique and has a bright future and people really need an indicator for their social media influence. Truth is, people don’t give a … tweet about it. Not because they don’t want to have something to brag about, and not because they don’t care how popular they are. It’s because the score alone means nothing. My Klout is 52, so what?

It’s not that this means nothing to me. It doesn’t mean anything to anybody. If I go in a room with marketers, and I say “My Klout is 70”, they may wink and say “yeah, cool”. If I go in a room with developers and say “my stackoverflow reputation is 140k” they may still do the same. But if I tell them “I’m ranked 21st, all time, on stackoverflow” they will likely be more impressed. And that’s what all these social reputation services lack – a leaderboard. A place where you can compete with others . And a place where people interested in you can see where you stand relative to others.

But then again, there are such indexes. With Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga ranked 1st and 2nd, and you ranked 562,134th. Which makes little sense. I’ll go back to the stackoverflow example. When I was on the 10th page, with something like 25k reputation, it didn’t mean anything. That’s equivallent to being 562,134th on the twitter leaderboard. But I was 4th in the Java tag and 3rd in the spring framework tag. And also 1st in the last 30 days in the Java tag, and 20th in the last month overall. That meant I was ahead of Jon Skeet (the stackoverflow celebrity) in the Java tag. Now that may matter to me. Not because I have 10k reputation, and not because I’m ranked 345th overall, but because I am first in some ranking. And on the other hand, people looking for Java developers won’t go to the overall leaderboard. They’ll go to the Java tag. And even though I was nobody overall, I was at the top in my tag.

That’s why complex and fragmented leaderboards should exist based on the social reputation score. Calculating it is the easy. Thinking of how to split the rankings is harder. One example: in my tool for power users there’s also a “score”. But you can check the top users in your country or in your city. Even if Lady Gaga would have 100 times more score than you, you can still be first in your city. And guess whom will marketers turn to if they need a local campagin? The top users in their area. That’s just a beginning. Other rankings will be cool as well: top people with a specific keyword in their bio (there’s an existing service about that already), top people with a given interest, in a given field, etc. And that would be great, because you will be at the top of what and where you are respected. Because Justin Biber can’t beat me at programming, can he?

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