Putting a Number on Online Reputation

30 Jan

Influence and reputation will be the online currency of the future – if they aren’t already. Holly Finn had a nice piece in The Wall Street Journal on how your online interactions will impact your reputation and your offline life:

Reputation was once a qualitative measure of our behavior, vital but vague. Now it’s getting quantitative. Soon there is likely to be an actual numerical reputation score for each of us, like a FICO credit score but for our whole lives.

We’ve got the precursors now, whether or not we’re aware of them. Companies such as PeerIndex, Twitalyzer, Talentag and PostRank (bought by Google) already apply online analytics to establish the heft of an individual’s or business’s “social capital.” This means, broadly, your influence online. How many people do you reach and how many of them take action based on what you say? Are you a preacher or a wallflower?

Even if you’re not online much, your reputation there could still affect you elsewhere. Future reputation scoring will take this into account—not always for the worst. Take a woman of 45, just divorced. She didn’t buy her home, hasn’t worked in years and seems a bad bet for a loan. She’s also a mother, a volunteer, trustworthy. From alternative online data—maybe a church-group blog—a reputation score might build a composite that’s a truer gauge of her risk-worthiness. Some scenarios could be more dastardly, of course. Either way, keeping the right company online, as off, is a good idea. What others say about you matters more and more.

Read the full article at The Wall Street Journal.

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