OK, I figure it’s time to throw my hat into the ring.
I’ve posted in the past about Twitter spam and I run what I think to be a pretty fun website about Twitter Stats, but there seems to be a lot of conversation recently about Twitter and the noise ratio.
Obviously, people are trying to figure out how best to use Twitter given its recent surge in popularity and accompanying spaminess. Louis Gray made a blog post about his noise ratio and Stowe Boyd followed up with a post about the noise ratio and conversational index, but there’s one thing that seems to be common across both these posts:
There is a super-fantastic problem in that both posts discuss one, one ratio!
That’s right - one ratio to describe the entire activity of Twitterites. One ratio to rule them all, one ratio to find them, one ratio to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
OK, perhaps these posts were intended to be their own personal way of determining a proper reputation structure on Twitter, but there is so much more data available to play with. Shall we? Yes, let’s take a look at all the numbers we have to play with:
- Date joined Twitter
- Number of updates over time
- Number of updates in the past month vs. when the first joined Twitter
- % of updates that contain links
- % of updates that are replies
- Number of mentions of the word “awesome”
These are just a few of the numbers that Twitter provides and while the noise ratio is a nice statistics, it is most definitely not a holistic means of providing a method by which to rate the reputation of a Twitter user. And there never will be such a means. Myself and @wardspan had a conversation this evening where we discussed the top three things we use to determine if we’re going to follow somebody. I think we only shared one in common of our top 3 and we tend to be pretty similar-minded. But we use Twitter for different reasons.
And it is with this post that I call out for a reasonable reputation system across our many services. Twitter is one such example, but there have been others in the past (yes, those other social networks) that have dealt with the same reputational issue, not to mention spam.
And it’s not getting better. I signed up for FriendFeed today and created a profile of my real self’s online activity. The scary thing is…I could have created the same profile for anybody else and the question to ask yourself is would anybody have known any better? In addition, in their case - does it even matter? Or are they redirecting their trust to the other systems they are using to generate their content.
Just imagine, if we could create a reliable reputation system across the services that we use to provide us with better and more interesting, targeted content on a daily basis. If only…