I just accepted a linkedin invitation. At the bottom of the invitation email, there is a fact.
“Fact: People with 20+ connections appear in LinkedIn search results 14.6x more often”
That got me thinking and I ended up writing this article. As more and more people start using LinkedIn, and many just keep “networking” without really knowing much the other people they are connecting up at level 1, the whole linked in system is going to break at sometime.
If Google hadn’t invented PageRank, the search results would have still been bad (like those of Yahoo!, MSN which is now Live etc). So, I was thinking along the lines of a PageRank scheme for LinkedIn. That is, a system in which people linked from popular people themselves inherit some of that popularity. Just like how Google’s homepage get’s a perfect 10 on 10 as it’s PageRank, say the most popular people on LinkedIn get a LinkedIn Rank of 10. Now, I will get to in a minute what I mean by “most popular people” and how that is measured as this is critical for this scheme to work. Any person who is connected to this most popular person will get his/her rank increased a bit. So, a person connected to more and more popular people would him/herself get better rank.
Now, if we just go by how many people a person is linked to others, then that doesn’t really give a good picture. Mainly because, there are so many recruiters on LinkedIn who have more than 500 connections. Does that mean these recruiters should get a better LinkedIn Rank than others? What about those who just keep accumulating LinkedIn connections just for the heck of it? One guy for example, who was from my Alumuni and some 10yrs elder to me connected with me and I later realized that he did that just to promote his published books! The guy didn’t even bother to send a response to my personal email I sent as part of accepting his invitation! I wish LinkedIn has a way to retrieve back an earlier accepted connection.
Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I think, popularity should be determined by profile search and visits. That is, when people are looking for a particular profile, then that person is likely to be more popular. In this case, how many connections a person has doesn’t matter (ofcourse, they matter in calculating their rank indirectly based on the above scheme of connections from popular people, but that wouldn’t be linear and cumulative). Infact, popularity can be a combination of number of page visits + links to popular people. In other words, it’s a hybrid of Alexa’s Traffic Rank + Google’s Page Rank.
Let’s call it PersonRank.