As many of you know, last month I curated two lists of 50 mom bloggers who have Klout scores of 40 or higher. I didn’t realize they would generate so much interest, but they have. Moms now have Klout on their radar and are diligently keeping up with their scores, including me.
Now that most of us understand Klout I have a question for you: do you know your PeerIndex score? Mine is 36 and can be found here: www.peerindex.net/mombloggersclub. One of the things PeerIndex does is calculate your blog, which I think is smart. Plus, they measure LinkedIn as well as Facebook and Twitter engagement.
I may (and may is a very strong word here) create a PeerIndex list in December. Leave your score in the comments and if I decide to create a list, I’ll be sure to include you!
Azeem Azhar, the founder of PeerIndex, left a comment on my “Free Advice to Brands and PR Firms Looking to Work With Mom Bloggers” post, so I decided to interview him about PeerIndex, what it is, and how it will affect us as bloggers.
1) What is PeerIndex and why is it different than other social media measuring companies out there right there?
I think first off it’s important to understand our take on the world–which is that people build up their personal and professional reputations in many different ways, but increasingly online. And that it is important for people to have the tools that let them assess that and ultimately benefit from that. (Benefit from it in the same way that if Jane Doe publishes excellent research into cancer, she might be invited to lecture at Harvard Medical School.)
For us this isn’t about hunting around and saying, “Twitter is growing, what app can we build over the top?” Rather it is a problem that I’ve certainly been thinking about for a better part of a decade. And the problem is this: with the spread of digital networks of people, how can we start to understand people better? How can we benefit from the network structure that exists out there? How can they benefit from it?’
From a product standpoint, here are some things we really care about. We care about what you talk about (i.e the topics you talk about) and we care about how well other people evaluate what you do. To the first point, we know that someone who talks and cares about organic baby food is not necessarily someone who knows or cares about aircraft maintenance. Or that someone who talks about brain cancer knows anything about osteoarthritis. And likewise that the networks of influence that these people have would even be the same.
So the starting point for PeerIndex is to build a model of the world based on people’s real interests and to then observe what goes on and apply some math to identify who resonates with the audience, who triggers actions in the audience.
To the second question: we don’t want to be arbiters about what is good or what is valuable. We can look at social signals (i.e. that other people behave like you) as a week of soliciting an assessment of your activity.
What do we aim to tell you? Well, we aim to tell you some things that you couldn’t (without doing the data collection across millions of accounts and having some good maths) do yourself. And these are mostly ‘relative’ numbers.
On a topic-by-topic basis, today we tell you how well you resonate with that topic community. And this is scored 1 to 100. On a given topic more than 50% of people will have a score of 25 or less. It is hard to get scores into the 80s or 90s.
We will also give you an estimate of your activity in that topic (how active are you on organic baby food? And how active are you compared to the rest of Twitter?)
We’ll also start to tell you how much of your overall audience engages with you on that topic. We also blend these scores to give you a single PeerIndex which measures your overall authority or digital eminence. Once again score 1 to 100 with fewer than 20 people having scores above 90.
What we don’t tell you at this point is how many tweets you’ve made, or how many retweets you’ve had. Of course, we capture this information, we just don’t expose it to you. There is a lot of data that can be pulled out of social networks but we don’t know how useful or actionable it is to be told how many retweets you have had or how many lists you are on. We have had people ask for this, so we may roll it out in a product update next year, but it isn’t a core focus for us.
Take some work we just did around mom bloggers, by which we mean people active on social networks who were interested in early-years childcare in all its forms. (Yes, we considered Dads too).
We were able to identify 48,000 people who would categorise as being interested in early-years childcare, across all its domains. When we focussed on the top 660 of these people, and we found several distinct groups of people on this topic. We could take our analysis further, but it’s more for the client to do. I did a little Wordle of some of the terms used to definet he topic:
2) You mentioned PeerIndex will launch officially in December. What differences can users expect to see in December.
Well, I don’t know if we’ll ever officially launch but our first three months has told us a lot about what we have got right and what we have got horribly wrong.
We will have a platform refresh in December which will introduce some things which I am super excited about. In particular, we’re going to be able to show you much more data about what you talk about and how well it resonates with other people. We’ve also been public with a restricted topic model for the first phase of our beta. This meant that we only showed off 40 topics, most of which were heavily skewed towards tech. We’ll be providing access to a much wider range of subjects through a pretty cool interface.
3) Who do you think will be able to use this PeerIndex information?
Anyone wanting to find out a person or a topic of interest, or wanting to understand more about how they themselves are perceived will be able to use PeerIndex.
We are already helping companies in sectors like publishing, financial services and enterprise software identify opinion leaders in their fields–and helping those opinion leaders receive special insights and benefits from those companies.
4) What are the future plans for PeerIndex?
To be successful, we’ll have to offer more utility to authorities (that is people like you and reading your blog), so we’ll continue to invest in that. That utility will come both from data about your behaviour, understanding you communities and through making it easier to find relevant folk.
More social networks / data sources : yes–as long as they meaningfully add to our analysis.
More languages : of course. We’re already doing things in Dutch, German and Portuguese.
5) Where are you based? Does PeerIndex have venture funding?
We are based in London, with a development group in Slovenia. We’re backed by angels includined Anthemis Group, Shamil Chandaria, Sherry Coutu, Stefan Glaenzer and Bill Emmott.
Can I draw attention to a few things we don’t yet to do well?
It’s worth noting that our focus is the fat-middle of people–that is people who are not already well-known and super identified, but who have some identifiable authority or influence.
So you’ll notice we don’t too a terribly good job of say @dooce – whose twitter footprint far underweights her blog footprint. We also don’t do a particularly great job on @kimkardashian or @barackobama – there are reasons for that and we know how to fix it. But right now, my take is that if you are a mom blogger who doesn’t know @dooce or a business person who doesn’t know @barackobama, you have bigger issues than PeerIndex could solve.
The main reason for this being that these people have such large audiences that when we start to factor them into calculations their scale drowns out everyone else, they way bright sunlight makes it hard to seen your mobile phone screen.
Where we do work very well is in the fat torso. In other words, I am extremely confident we can answer questions like: ‘Who are 250 people interested in ‘education at home’ or ‘student funding’ or ‘solid state physics’. I would claim to be able to find the single most important person in each of those domains. We’re working on that problem because it is an interesting one, but it isn’t, we believe, as valuable as what we provide today.
As for helping your readers – the best thing they can do is come and register on Peerindex (www.pi.mu), as well as encourage their readers to register. It takes us about three days to first index you and about two weeks to get really robust about it. The more people we have in a given subject area, the better our results tend to me, so just inviting your friends improves the platform for everyone.