“Oh wad some power the giftie gie us to see oursels as others see us!" Rabbie/Robert Burns

Reputation is everything. It is the definition of brand, it’s the unique identifier of us and our standing in society. When Ebay first launched their seller ratings system it was one of the first tangible metrics for trustworthiness on an personal level. Subsequently it seems that all we do in our social media life is build on our online persona be it through our immediate or extended networks.

There was much talk ‘in the day’ of how employers were looking folk up on facebook to check out their antics. It’s died down a bit now but as a personal rep check it is still a bit of an indicator but not an actual reputation metric.

In fact there is so many ways now to manage your reputation it kind of feels like the whole thing is simply becoming a game. The best/worst manifestation of this is a site called “Naymz”.

I’d had a number of invites which I’d ignored but I figured I might as well give it a go for a bit of a giggle. Little did I know what a game it actually is!

The basic idea is that it’s a social network based around reputation, so much so dull. The difference is that as you connect to people you are asked a few questions about the person; about trustworthiness / desire to work with etc. and from that you are given ‘points’.

These points contribute to you ‘rep-score’ which goes up to Level 10. You are then allowed to surf other people with the same or lower ‘rep-score’ than you’ve got. Obviously we want to keep the rabble away.

Once you’re level 10 you can then look at the logs of who has been looking at you – if you ain’t that reputatable then you can always pay for the privilege (as is the way of the world).

So I imported my trusty focus group / LinkedIn connection list of around 400 folk that I accumulated over the years and spammed, oops, sent out invites to see just how trustworthy I was.

Face it there’s a bunch of folk on my list who I’ve only met once or twice. Many of whom probably have no idea who I am and hence I was prepared for the worst. Also the invites expire after a week unlike most other networks (I guess you get more points for how quickly your mates respond).

I don’t think I’ve ever had to many direct mails back from the list asking about the service and whether it was ‘any good’. My fave comment was from a fellow web strategy dude who said ‘Love you all v. much. But this is like an invitation to a clusterf*ck.’

Anyway I waited for a couple of days to see if anybody bothered – unfortunately scores are only calculated daily so I had to return regularly. By day 3 my score rocketed to a lofty 1,292 points putting me squarely at level 10. The means I can now hob nob with the leet. Fantastic.

This made me think – why the level cap? I mean it’s a game right? Turns out I’m number 10 in London out of 3,976 – bah must do better.

Surely I should be able to aspire to level 20 or 30 or even 100? I want to be able to rub my 1,292 points in the faces of those who only just hit level 10. Where’s my epic mount? My legendary sword? My boots of +1 walking? And most importantly where is my power over all of those disreputable minions?

OK perhaps that’s taking it a bit to far.

The sad fact tho’ is that the whole thing is a touch on the ludicrous side. As sociology experiments go they’ve got it all – they’ve stolen wholesale big chunks of game theory and mashed it up with the core tenets of social media which could have been interesting: if it weren’t for the fact that you can actually BUY a ‘rep-score’ of 10 by subscribing to all the premium services making the entire thing worthless. Oh well.

Regardless of naymz we are definitely moving into the wonderful world of individual reputation metrics, I’m sure eventually we’ll have on our smart card our fingerprint, retinal scan, DNA and trustworthiness index. Scary.

BTW I must apologise profusely to those of my linkedin crew who embarked on this journey of self discovery and failure. I would avoid this like the plague – unless of course you think you can beat my score, in which case – bring it.