Friday, July 31, 2009

What is RESPKT?

Some of you have asked me about the RESPKT widget on the right side of my blog page so I thought I'd write a short note introducing this experimental service...
"R E S P K T, Find out what it means to me..."
-Aretha Franklin
Some friends (Chick Markley and Doug March) and I have created RESPKT and the widget is a part of the service and a part of a broader idea for lightweight distributed trust and reputation systems.

The basic problem is this --> how can you decide whether a person you don't know is interesting, trustworthy, or expert in a given topic? Social networks (facebook, linkedin, twitter) give us one view into this -- connections, followers, and (in the case of LinkedIn) recommendations tell us at least who knows a given person. But this is an imperfect indicator since the reasons that a connection or a follow exist are quite varied and may not indicate interestingness, trustworthiness, or expertise. And LinkedIn's recommendations are limited in number and scope.

So RESPKT seeks to provide a solution (initially for Twitter only). The idea is to allow anyone to express explicit respect for anyone else and to track and distribute the results. By tracking who is getting respkt over time and who they are getting it from, we can do a much better job at helping you to make that decision about whether someone is interesting, trustworthy, or expert...