Friday, September 17, 2010

So @twtrank gives @WarrenWhitlock the Heisman and casts aspersions on @blockrealestate

If you're starting a business, you may choose to make an effort to inform potential customers about your business. If you're an artist, maybe you'll paint a portrait of an art collector. If you're a caterer, perhaps you'll offer free samples to offices.

And if your firm rates/ranks people, then you'll let people know where they rank.

@twtrank provides such a ranking service, and they recently tweeted the following:

@WarrenWhitlock is currently the #141 ranked athlete on Twitter with a score of 15. #HIAY

(Incidentally, I have no idea what the #HIAY hashtag stands for. Warning to all: incomprehensible hashtags waste valuable microcharacters.)

Now you may be wondering who Warren Whitlock is, so let me help you out. He's not on the Washington Redskins roster. He's not on the Boise State men's hockey roster.

In fact, Whitlock is not an athlete at all. According to his Twitter profile, he's the "[a]uthor of 1st book on Twitter, Publisher, Blogger and Social Media Radio Show Host."

And as a blogger, he expressed his thoughts on this particular tweet. While I encourage you to read Whitlock's post, the title says it all: "Don’t wast (sic) time on @Twtrank."

Apparently this is not the first time that @Twtrank has rated Whitlock. According to Warren, it has been rating his musical talents. Of course, Whitlock admits that his high musical rating is deserved:

Word of my prowess in playing a strereo is pretty widespread.

But at least Whitlock can laugh at his rankings. What if you're using Twitter to run your business? And what if @twtrank ranks you in a non-businesslike category? Ask @blockrealestate:

Thus is a dubious honor: “@twtrank: @blockrealestate is currently the #39 ranked drinker on Twitter with a score of 23. #HIAY

Imagine if this was a potential client's first impression of Brian Block...and imagine if the potential client believed the tweet. (Or imagine if one of my online LDS friends got ranked in that category.)

@Twtrank is tied to the website How interesting are you?, and although I can't find any description of the service, it appears that you have to opt in to be rated.

But what about the ratings? Even Louis Gray, who wrote about the service back in March, wasn't too sure about the algorithm:

You'll find the site has preloaded a number of questions, including whether you like to cook, whether you are a nerd (I only got 1 point and demand a recount!), or if you are a "real gamer".

Personally, I anticipate that U.S. News and World Report will incorporate @twtrank into its college ranking system. And, for those who don't know me or know where I got my undergraduate degree - that's a joke.
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