As I explored the motivation of leaderboards I got to thinking about social networks.
Momentarily I thought Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter don’t have leaderboards. That thought didn’t remain unchallenged for long. About 10 seconds to be precise. Leaderboards don’t have to look like ladders to be effective.
The idea of a ladder is to share and educate best practices. The theory goes that those at the top of the ladder are doing it right and the rest of us should emulate their behaviour.
Some do there ladders with subtlety, some not so much eg sites like Stumbleupon, Reddit, Digg & Delicious are all 100% leaderboard / ladder centric. People want to climb these social ladder because they bring you eyeballs.
Facebook’s newsfeed is about as complex a leaderboard as you could imagine.
People actively try and game face book’s feed (people and brands alike).
You can even pay money to boost their positioning on the ladder. They want to be seen on more people’s feeds.
What’s most interesting to me is consumers are as focussed on getting likes as brands. I always think of Facebook as a hamster wheel. It stops very quickly if you stop peddling.
People have become trained to expect the reward of having their content liked. The process become addictive. You want to be on the ladder.
On Linkedin when you search for anyone you are using a leaderboard. People are surfaced by the number of connections, their social proximity to you, their number of recommendations and their focus on keyword optimization of their profiles.
It’s more subtle, but being found is a reward for using the system right.
The content educates you on how to get found if you choose to emulate the users who do it right.
Your social profile is augmented with your own personal talent leaderboard. I’m not a fan of this, but it’s a game for sure. When writing recommendations became too tedious a simple check against keywords became the new norm.
There are two highly visible leaderboards in effect on Twitter. They are highly evident when you search.
In this example I’m searching for “content marketing”.
1. A Leaderboard of Tweets
By default you are shown the “Top” content, you can then customize to see a different subset.
You are being shown what Twitter’s algoithm perceives is the best content. They are educating you on what is good, what is valuable. There is a hidden promise – do this right and you could be here too.
2. A Leaderboard of People
People are distilled by twitter based on their content. You can get placed on the leaderboard for any given search term if you regularly tweet and share content on that topic. It’s a pretty good reflection of reality.
If you are a brand or a business you should be mindful of your content and how you are seen. This is a reflection of your content. It’s well worth checking if you make the leaderboard for your keywords.
Twylah is great tool for taking this kind of assessment to the next level.
Google Plus / G+ Leaderboards
Circles are the mechanic of choice and this is cleverly connected to Authorship and Author Rank.
Here’s an example of a leaderboard blended into a Google search for “Content Curation Crowdsourcing”
My friend Tom George is ahead of me in 2nd position (in the search ranking) with 556 Google Circles.
I’m at 4th place in the ranking with 2035 people circling me.
Googles implementation of author rank and connecting it to G+ and showing your circle count are all ways of communicating good behaviour and educating people that you should be tagging your content as authored by you.
It’s a known fact that posts with avatars get picked more.
Redditt is an interested examples that is 100% ladder or leaderboard centric. Every page on Reddit is a ranked distillation of what is how, new, rising or controversial in any given niché (or subreddit)
I was intrigued when I discovered that you can get a dashboard for your own domain on Reddit. Here’s the Reddit for Listly. We have not been active in any great way todate. I used to struggle to find who was mentioning us on Reddit as things used to move so fast. This page provides easy access to that.
It’s your mentions page (like on Twitter)
Social Media Leaderboards : Aka “The Influence Wars”
Each network has their own leaderboards as shown above, but when it comes to measuring or quantifying overall social media effectiveness tools like Klout, Kred and TweetLevel attempt to aggregate social performance into a single influence score.
Let’s not go there. Here’s a list if you are curious. There are a lot of tools in this space.
I recall learning how to be a good Twitter user by following my grading on Twitter Grader.
This stuff works.
For me leaderboards are great educational tools. I’m just not sure people use them in the right way all the time or realize just how many leadeboards we are subject to.
Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter and G+ are great examples of that.
How about you? What are your favorite examples?
Image Credit: sezzles via Flickr.com and Creative Commons