Social Scoring: Life changing?

If you’ve ever checked out and laughed at your score, perhaps it’s time to think again, if you’re the type who freaks out at “Next Big Thing” declarations from tech blogs.

Full disclosure: I’m a grain-of-salt, “duly noted” kinda guy.

The following five points were outlined in the latest melodramatic Social Media article I’ve read, a piece titled “Get ready. Social scoring will change your life.” Collectively, these points make a semi-compelling case for the idea that your ranking, whether it comes from Twitter, Klout, or elsewhere, will not only determine your online relevance, but it will also impact your offline, real-world life as well.

  • The Palms Hotel in Las Vegas is providing perks to guests based on their Klout score
  • By the end of the year, Twitter said their new analytics will provide influence scores for every user.
  • People are now curating lists of the most influential bloggers by Klout score.
  • Virgin Airlines offered free flights on a new route to people with high influence scores on Twitter.
  • Hoot Suite allows you to sort Twitter results by the influence of the people in the list.

I say “semi-compelling” because I don’t think average people will know or care about Twitter’s opinion of their friends, coworkers or potential mates. However, the article all but trumpets a New World Order in which your relevance ranking impacts everything from your employment prospects (“…more important than your resume”) to your love life (…”assign numbers for single people on the dating scene.”) and more.

He even suggests that the ability to manipulate these rankings will emerge as a business opportunity for self-proclaimed social media mavens everywhere. He may be right about that (and hey, points for trying to predict the future and identify a business opportunity), but aren’t the same type of people who are going to acknowledge this score those who are best-prepared to determine how to increase said scores themselves?

The author’s controlling purpose is a bit overbearing, but still, deserves some consideration: “It seems inevitable that you and ‘your number’ are going to be compared, analyzed and dissected by everyone you meet.”

A bit heavy-handed, no? More comical, however, is the accompanying graphic depicting an iPhone screen shot of people in the bar with their Klout scores superimposed over them in an augmented reality/face recognition mash-up concept. If there really will be an app for that, would Klout scores really be what a drunk iPhone-wielding patron really wants to get at? How about Facebook relationship status or that new-age Hot Or Not rating system he already suggested? People (read: creeps) would actually pay for that app.

Either way, in real-world social settings, “She’s cute, is she single?” will forever be orders of magnitude more relevant than “Would socially-savvy brands pay her to retweet their missives after she shakes off her hangover tomorrow?”

Privacy issues aside, this is an app that solves a real-world problem (helping boys meet girls) and like any innovation, introduces a host of new issues along the way (namely, awkward stares, stalking and fist fights).

Klout scores may gain relevance in digerati circles, and maybe a few Twitter stars will find ways to profit, but I’ll argue that John Q. Public will thankfully continue to lead a life less-examined, if you will.

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