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Posts Tagged ‘InMaps’

What impression am I making? Who do I know? What do I know about them? … and many more questions – PART 1

February 3, 2011 Leave a comment

As regular readers will have noticed, I’ve moved my blog posts to a daily frequency. I was concerned that I’d find enough to write about – but in the last two weeks I’ve been struggling to filter buckets of ideas and prioritise topics.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to interview the co-founder of a new service called MyWebCareer – and expected that to be the sole topic of today’s post. However, today has seen the launch of a new Personal Relationship Management (PRM) service called Connected – and I’ve decided to feature both together in a two-part series!

The cross over of the services has given me much food for thought – so I will review

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separately and round up with conclusions in the second part.

As you can see from the title of this post, when you want to assess your Personal Network – there are a lot of questions to be answered. Both of these services provide answers – but in subtly different ways.

If Connected is offering PRM – then MyWebCareer is a PFM (Personal Footprint Manager). As well as test driving the MyWebCareer service, I also had a chance to chat to one of the co-founders, Nip Zalavadia. Nip filled me in on how the business was started and on the idea of “footprints”. It’s an intriguing story…

Nip and the co-founders come from a very different world. They have “experience in developing mission critical solutions for US Federal Law Enforcement, Intelligence, and Forensics clients.”. Nip pointed out: “Our expertise comes from one of the very few areas where Government practices are far in advance of the private sector. Footprints are the low level traces that people leave behind – and in our former employment used to help us find criminals.” The premise of MyWebCareer is that they can work for YOU to help understand the “footprint” you leave when you are on-line – and what future employers might find out about you.

To use the service, you grant MyWebCareer access to your social media acccounts (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) – and to supplement this they analyse other public data from places like Stack Overflow (particularly relevant to programmers) and trawling the “Deep Web”.

It all sounds rather sinister – and when I looked through their review of “My Score Guidance”, some of the observations were quite “spooky”. The information collated was surprisingly thorough – and their conclusions on the ball. It reminded me of the very popular YouTube video on privacy issues – and in particular ordering a pizza in the future.

Nip’s seen the video – but he and the team at MyWebCareer approach this area in a very positive way. For them it’s not about getting people frightened about what’s on-line, it’s about working on the side of his customers to help them understand how a current (or future) employer might view them.

I logged on to the service – and tested it out. The linking to each of the social media networks was very smooth – and the “Dashboard” produced was pretty informative.

MyWebCareer produces an innovative scoring method – with a benchmark and grading for different key areas. Nip explained to me that “this number is produced using sophisticated link analysis, visualization, entity extraction and semantics. In the US the number produced would be a very a familiar scoring method to anyone who tracked their credit ratings – a number called an FICO.” For those not in the US, including me, FICO is short for the Fair Isaac Corporation – a public company that provides credit scoring.

The company has a nice line from one of their Twitter fans “If @Klout and @LinkedIn had a baby, his name would be a new #Startup called @MyWebCareer.” It’s a cool description – and not far off the mark.

The really good things about the service – and is uncommon in many start-ups – is that they’ve thought through the next steps. If you’ve followed the stories here and elsewhere on LinkedIn InMaps launch – there have been many comments along the lines of “that looks great – but what does it mean? What should I do with it?”. Well MyWebCareer is ready with the next steps and answers to your questions. After it has created your score, you can then get a comprehensive breakdown of how the score was collated – and most importantly what you can do to improve it.

I’d encourage you to give MyWebCareer a try. I reckon that it took 30 minutes for me to grant access to services and review the findings. Time well spent – it certainly gave me some pointers. This Beta version is free – and the pro version will be on its way with more gizmos (and a moderate price tag soon). If you are serious about your Personal Brand – this is an important first step in looking at your Personal Network and understanding what impression you are making.

End of Part One – I’ll be back tomorrow to review Connected and then discuss how these services cross-over and compliment. If you need a reminder to pop back – do subscribe to RSS or Email newsletter on the top right (or follow me on Twitter @personalnetwork)

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Mapping your Personal Network – around the world

January 31, 2011 3 comments

There’s been an amazing amount of interest in the new InMaps service from LinkedIn. The great thing about this visual feature is that it has by-passed language barriers and circled the world. If you don’t believe me, just have a quick search on Twitter for InMaps – and you’ll find many people, every hour, sharing their InMaps with the world. See the screengrab below with the tweets in many languages in a 20 minute period on Sunday.

It got me thinking. Is there a way of seeing your contacts geographically in a visual form? With the magic of Google (and a little help from Quora) – these things are never too far away.

My discovery was a Beta software called MapMyConnections. It’s a cool little visualisation software that uses the LinkedIn api. See results below from my test of the system. I think it’s another useful

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way of looking at my Personal Network (although I am a little concerned about the 24 people who seem to be on a boat – or overboard – between Liverpool and the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea!)

The application is the work of Jan Willem van Eck. He describes himself on Twitter as “crossculturalist, builds bridges, geo-minded, explorer (strateGIST at Esri Netherlands); social media enthusiast. for the love of geography”. Sounds a great guy – and he seems to have built this in his spare time with limited resources. Take a bow!

Do give MapMyConnections a spin – and please do zoom in to my map and try to explain the 24 connections who seem to be all at sea!

LinkedIn’s new visualisation tool – InMaps

January 25, 2011 1 comment

LinkedIn have just launched a new tool to create a visual map of your connections – InMaps. It’s a very interesting tool – and is an important step towards understanding your Personal Network.

I was surprised at how in certain areas of my network, the system was able to colour code by groups. In fact, some of it was a bit “spooky” and gave me a feeling that Big Brother was watching. You can see why these powerful network visualisation tools have been used

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by security forces to check terrorist connections (none in my network – I hope!). However, in places, it was not easy to work out what the common thread of the colours were – as you can see from the incomplete key on the screen grab above.

It’s a newly launched service – but already seems to have rich features. For example, you can click on any connection – and see who they are connected to in your network.

The system is polarised by just being an overview of LinkedIn connections. I recently did an audit of my contacts – and I’d only connected to 11% of them in LinkedIn (with 71% of them being Weak Ties). I am sure this might be different for others – but I am sure it is always an incomplete picture. See my earlier post – Are the people you REALLY want to know social networking?

Anyway, if you are a LinkedIn user, I would encourage you to have a play. Go to http://inmaps.linkedinlabs.com/. Check out the video below for an overview from DJ Patil, Chief Scientist at LinkedIn.

>You can now get more info in my second post about InMaps – including video of DJ Patil giving further explanation of his network and development of InMaps.

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