If you’re a Twitter user, you have a TweepRank. Or perhaps a TwitRank. Or maybe an AtRank. Whatever it’s called, it’s a personal reputation score that Twitter has given you based on your Twitter activity. And Twitter isn’t about to reveal it in the form of a little blue bar on your home page.
Twitter co-founder Ev Williams revealed the reputation score moments ago during an interview with John Battelle at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. It came during a conversation about how Twitter decides which users to display in the “Who to follow” module on the new Twitter.com.
Williams explained that the company has “scientists and math people who do that,” and said the algorithm is “way beyond” what he can understand. But, he revealed, part of it is a reputation score that’s hidden in Twitter’s system:
EW: We look at a whole bunch of signals. We have, actually, a reputation score for every user, based on –
JB: You ever gonna make that public?
EW: We’ve struggled with that. I think it would be really cool to make it public; the problem is then, like making PageRank public –
JB: It would get gamed.
EW: Yeah, it would get gamed.
JB: But PageRank started as a public paper.
EW: Fair enough.
JB: But now there are thousands of signals beyond PageRank.
EW: Right. So, we might, but it needs to evolve quite a bit more. That’s one of many signals we look at, as well as who different people follow. But we found at first, when we did that, that we recommended, sort of, unexciting or uninteresting — like, people you knew about and probably weren’t following for a reason, because they’re the most popular people; of course you’re going to run into them. So we had to introduce more surprise and randomness.
Williams also spoke in general terms about the company’s future roadmap. He didn’t share any specifics, but promised that “relevance is a big theme for us. Our goal is to give people the most valuable information for them, wherever they are.”