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Social Score: What is it and How did We Get Here?
There are approximately 239 million U.S. internet users representing 75.6% of the total U.S. population. By the end of 2012, 2/3 of web users will use social networks according to the 2012 U.S. Digital Media Usage report from eMarketer. As the social web has empowered people with the ability to publish their opinions and thoughts on anything and everything, we have seen an explosion in user generated content being published and redistributed across social networks. With massive amounts of data and sophisticated methods of data analysis, we are now able to ask questions we would have never considered asking in the past. For instance, can Twitter conversations be analyzed to predict stock market trends? With access to so much data, society is asking many new questions. For instance, can this data be aggregated and analyzed through algorithms to find correlations between someone’s digital footprint (online reputation) and the risk of lending that person money? Can the data aggregated from a person’s digital footprint provide a reliable metric from which to determine if a candidate should be hired for a specific job? These questions are being explored and many companies think they have found the answers with a new type of metric that isn’t a credit score or a score derived from a competency-based test; it’s the social score derived from the data on the social web.
Social Score: Will it Determine Your Employment?
Just a few years ago, it might have been odd to think that companies would use social media to conduct background checks to screen potential hires but it is happening. This screening process requires employers to search for available data, aggregate it, analyze it, determine a weighted value of what they have found and make a decision which is influenced by what they have found. The social score is an automation of this process in an attempt to provide decision-makers with a new type of metric calculated by predetermined, weighted variables. Perhaps the most well-known example of a social score which claims to measure influence is Klout which provides a score of influence between 1 and 100. One’s Klout score earns them real-world advantages such as product discounts or service upgrades. An example of an organization that is out to establish a new type of credential, the “professional score,” is Mywebcareer.com. Mywebcareer.com gathers information on a person and calculates a “professional score” based on the variables in their algorithm. How accurate or reliable are these scores and should they be used to influence how real-life decisions are made? These are questions currently being explored. One thing is for certain; whether you like it or not, we are being scored and these scores are currently having a real-world influence on how decisions are made. Will the social score eventually replace and/or supplement the traditional data employers use to make hiring decisions?
What do you think about the social score and what other implications do you think there may be in the future?