PeekScore is a number from one to ten which quantifies, at a glance, an individual’s online prominence, or “digital footprint.” An individual’s PeekScore will grow or shrink depending upon the quantity of information he or she makes publicly available on the Web during a given period of time.
Increasing your PeekScore is rather simple. The more content you share and provide online, the higher your PeekScore will be. While many public figures will have large PeekScores without having to directly contribute much to their digital footprints, for the vast majority of individuals the size of their PeekScore is almost entirely within their own control.
Below is a condensed list of different ways one can increase his or her PeekScore:
Own a domain and maintain a website, either personal or business-related.
Be open and active on social networks, as a public social media presence will impact your PeekScore positively and directly. The sizes of your various audiences at social media will also influence your score.
Maintain multiple social network accounts. The more accounts you are publicly active on, the higher your score.
Start a public blog and update it with new posts frequently.
And it must be noted, while not relevant to all, that IMDB profiles, Wikipedia entries, and any and all mentions throughout the news media and blogosphere can also positively, and at times profoundly, impact one’s PeekScore.
Today, PeekYou’s CEO Michael Hussey, GM of Product Josh Mackey and GM of PeekYou.com Raj Ajrawat were featured on www.semanticweb.com regarding PeekYou’s search engine technology, our matching algorithm and the vision for PeekYou in the future. Here is a small excerpt from the article:
“Using public data on the Web, the company has been building an index matching URLs to individuals. That is, it has developed its own algorithm to look at web pages for specific things that help it identify whether that data is associated with a particular individual – real names or user names, outbound links to other social sites or blogs, work or school affiliations, for example. To accomplish that, it has to be smart enough to match to an individual a LinkedIn profile that lists the user’s region with a Myspace one that includes the user’s city but not region – oh, and let’s raise the stakes by doing it for individuals with common names like John Smith. Some 50 or 60 queries might have to be run to match up and two given URLs.”
Over the next few months, PeekYou will be rolling out a series of blog posts known as the “PeekYou Education Series.” Our goal with these posts is to give our users the ability to understand how search engines like PeekYou find public information online and to raise the general level of awareness that users should have when it comes to the information that we share and consume everyday. We feel that many times our users and other individuals across the web do not necessarily understand how keeping their privacy settings open, or sending out a tweet to the public web, can be picked up by various sources across the web. All of us here at PeekYou feel its important that users get as much education and information as possible about how all of these various components of the web work, allowing them to make a better, more educated decision when it comes to sharing information online and posting information to the public web.
This series was sparked by the comments and feedback from users that we receive everyday, mostly from users who are upset or shocked to find so much information about themselves in one location. While we think it is not a bad thing at all to be public and to share your information with others freely, we want to ensure (through these posts) that consumers and users have the tools and knowledge to navigate the online world. After all, knowledge is power, and we want to empower our users with information.
Further to this point, we also see a big shift happening online, whereby people are starting to recognize “Identity” as being separate by connected to “Privacy”: You can have a robust online identity and yet still remain private in many ways. This shift happening across the web is one of the reasons our CEO Michael Hussey and our GM of Product Josh Mackey recently attended the PII 2011 Conference (privacy identity innovation) in San Francisco, CA last week.
Stay tuned for more posts in the PeekYou Education Series that will be going on throughout the summer. Feel free to engage with us through Twitter and our Facebook page, as well as our blog.
For the past couple of days PeekYou’s CEO, Michael Hussey, and Josh Mackey, our General Manager of Business and Product Development, have been in San Francisco attending the pii2011 (privacy identity innovation) conference. While there, Mike and Josh have had the incredible opportunity to meet with the leaders of other companies who share PeekYou’s commitment to providing consumers with more control over their personal information, as well as sharing our dedication to better educating users about who can see what they put online, and where it can wind up. Whether consumers want to increase their online presence or remain largely anonymous, we believe that choice should be their own. Mike and Josh have been heartened to be spending face-to-face time with others in our industry who share this vision. All of us here at PeekYou are looking forward to continuing, deepening, and acting upon the discussions initiated this week, and in the weeks and months ahead even more intensely focusing our energies on increasing consumer choice and awareness, in the areas of online privacy and beyond.
For more information about PeekYou and the conference, follow Mike and Josh on Twitter!
The following is a post written by PeekYou’s General Manager of Product, Josh Mackey.
What would happen if at a school’s talent show some parents stood up and started heckling the child playing the piano or dancing in front of them? “You’re awful!” or “You call yourself a dancer?” For one thing, it would never happen. And if it did, the rest of the audience would turn on the heckler and defend the 13-year-old performer. Even if every parent in the audience inwardly agreed that the child was talentless, they would keep their opinion to themselves for the time being and clap at the end of the performance. Why? Because of the negative consequences of behaving uncivilly—to one’s reputation and even to one’s standing in the community. Common sense, right? How come then common decency is thrown out the door in the case of Rebecca Black’s YouTube performance? Why can so many people not refrain from publicly ridiculing this 13-year-old girl trying to be a singer and songwriter?
What explains the essential difference in behavior when the medium is the Internet? What changes people when they interact online? Why do they behave so savagely so often? Could it be the anonymous username? Could it be that when they hide behind an alias, they feel invisible, and hence not accountable for their actions? Is the anonymous username the modern-day Ring of Gyges?
Going by a username instead of one’s real name is attractive to those who:
1) Value privacy above all else
Sure, a username gives you some extra privacy, but of what use is such privacy? If you can’t publicly stand by what you do online because doing so would damage your reputation, then maybe just don’t do it. Show some integrity and stand by your comments on an Internet forum. There are legitimate concerns over privacy, I don’t deny it, but ultimately people need to understand that public identity and privacy are two different notions, and that you can declare who you are without violating your own privacy. It’s not even hard to manage. Simple steps go a long way; steps such as thinking twice before posting personal details, and keeping off the record birthdays, phone numbers, street addresses, medical and financial records, and SSNs. Disseminating this kind of information on the Internet can be disastrous to your privacy. Divulging what your favorite music bands or movies are? Not so much.
2) Seek free speech for political reasons
Free speech is another catch cry in behalf of the anonymous web, and sure, if you live in Iran, and wish to speak out against the government, then you have a case. But if you yearn for “free speech” as nothing more than a cover for bad-mouthing people while not exposing your identity, then your tirade about anonymity and free speech on the Internet doesn’t garner much sympathy from me.
3) Wish to live vicariously
Some people need the web to be a fantasy land, a valve of release.
I understand people not divulging their real identity on sites like IMVU or Second Life. Doing otherwise would defeat the purpose of such virtual worlds premised on escaping reality. But should we commiserate with someone who wants to live vicariously as a bully on YouTube, or as a jerk on TechCrunch or the WSJ? I think not.
4) Are bad players
Simply put, some people are straight up bad players who are planning to do illegal or immoral things online, which can’t possibly be done without the use of an anonymous username or fake identity. Think “How to Catch a Predator.”
I predict that one day a transparent online identity will become the norm, and lurking behind anonymous usernames, the exception. More and more people will put a premium on interactions with other people whom they can identify, and who can be held accountable for their online actions. One’s Internet reputation will become almost as valuable as one’s offline reputation. Even today, we’d all rather know who left that comment, wrote that article, sent that email, or is selling this car. It’s already happening and, in my opinion, it’s the main reason why Quora has been so successful: because it requires some form of verified, public identity. More illustrations of the trend include successful sites such as About.me, card.ly, flavors.com, etc. On the Internet, we want to deal with people of clout, who don’t hide their name and face. “BigBizDog88″ is so 1999.
The web is emerging from its chaotic and troubled adolescence, where anything goes and you can be anyone or no one. There are more and more people to interact with nowadays, and on many more levels than in the past. The potential for clutter grows exponentially, along with the size of the Internet itself. So pretty soon, we won’t have the time of day to give to anonymous nobodies. My prediction is that in the not-too-distant future, a deep chasm will open throughout the Internet. On one side of it will be a transparent market of ideas, where people network and transact with their cards on the table and virtual name tags on. And on the other side will be the black market, so to speak, of shady dealings, casual encounters, cyber bullying, and other unsavory activities, all of which thrive only under the shade of the anonymous username.
Going by an anonymous username, even for what are today considered legitimate reasons (i.e., privacy considerations and the like), will be considered your “opt out” from the open and accountable Internet and will leave you on the dark side of the chasm. Unfortunately, even if you have the best intentions, you’ll be left in the company of the BigDog’s and hotdude’s of the web, untrusted and ignored, like spam.
Recently, we came across a brilliant blog post from the folks over at Radian6 concerning online privacy, information sharing and the “opt-in/opt-out” debate. You can read the excellent article here written by Lindsay Bell of Radian6. Her article touches upon a number of aspects in the online privacy debate, essentially building on one simple quote:
“Publication is a self-invasion of privacy.” -Marshall McLuhan
As such, our own Josh Mackey was able to comment on Lindsay’s post, and we have reposted his comment here:
“This is a logical and practical post on online privacy in the age of self publication and social media, well done Radian6. For me personally, publicly “liking, tweeting, posting, publishing” and even joining networks is the “opt-in”. When online you should act as you would on live TV i.e watch what you say cause it’s recording. The quote “Once a word has been allowed to escape, it cannot be recalled” ~Horace has as a whole new meaning and is more true than ever!
Saying that, I believe everyone has a level of comfort and that level should be respected. But, as is mentioned in the post, personal control, knowledge and most importantly a individuals choice to PARTICIPATE is the key here. Facebook could help themselves by implementing small changes that I believe would not affect their revenue. For example, the same rules that apply to search engines should also apply to Facebook apps and Facebook connect. This would mean that if a user wants to use an app or connect to a site with Facebook, their own privacy setting (friends only, friends of friends, everyone) dictates the level of personal data that gets transferred to the 3rd party rather than than the current “all or nothing” approach.
Again great post R6, good to see some logic in this debate.”