I’ve always been interested in how geeks online try and mirror real life for some time. Sentiment analysis of twitter, for example, or the measurement of influence with tools like Peerindex or Klout.
Last week Linkedin introduced a system of endorsing its users using a single click, similar to how Klout asks you to do. Yesterday the tool arrived in the UK. It is an extension of Linkedin’s ‘Skills’ feature where you are asked to describe your key skills which are then added to your profile. Now people connected to you can endorse one of your skills simply by clicking on it.
In a world where we need to check each other out, it seems to make sense to try and see the true credibility of strangers. Who better to approach for advice than someone you know and trust? If you don’t know them, maybe there is another way you can trust them? Perhaps someone else you know trusts them?
I can see the point of these tools. They are convenient, but are they realiable? I’m not so sure about that.
Over the last year since we did some experimentation with PeerIndex when trying to explain the value of twitter to non-users in the construction industry. This was quite effective because people are interested in some of the qualities of these tools – the way they let certain types of people rise to the top of lists, for example. Saves you some time, or at least it should do.
For me the problem with one-click and algorithm based ‘reputation networks’ is that they are trying to recreate the real thing, rather than simply visualise it. This makes them bound to fail. You can become influential in something even if you aren’t – hence the value is destroyed.
If someone can give you +1 with one click, the same system can be gamed by charlatans. So much more effective are one or two personal recommendations on your linkedin profile, from clearly genuine people who have worked with you. How they write about it gives away so much about what they think about you. This information is much more reliable.
If you want to leave Klout here’s a good place to start.