Apr 13, 2010

Web reputation as currency

I happened to run in to Whuffie bank (http://thewhuffiebank.org/). It's an interesting idea of earning currency (Whuffie) by being active in  social media. It currently supports only Twitter. Somehow it feels like quite an "american idea" of more is better, but still it got me thinking that could it actually work.

Easy way to say someone have influence for example in Twitter is to look at amount of followers. Still in current days, it's so damn easy to start "following" someone, but then discard everything from this same person, if you are not interested. I atleast am not that active Twitter user and I atleast miss most of the stuff people are tweeting about.

Whuffie tries to tackle this problem by counting how much people re-tweets someone's posts. Whuffie has also some balancing factors that those who tweet too often or always just re-tweets would get lower score, but overall it's about who story is being told forward.

Reputation as "free-ticket" has so far been the privilidge of actors, athletes and other celebrity. Now this tries to bring the same to social media actives. Also this tries to bring reputation as a visible number. It's ultimate way of saying I'm cool and you're not. I wouldn't be wondered if you could soon buy (with real money) someone to retweet you and get your whuffle number up.

Maybe I'm too pessimistic to see it actually work as a currency, but certainly it will work as indication who are influencers in social media and who are not. Also, I could easily see that for people with high Whuffiebank balance, will be asked to try out many cool stuff, so that they could make it viral if it is good.

I guess I need to get the book the idea came from to understand it bit better: Cory Doctorow - Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom.  

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen