Introverted talent in America, buried by the 'influence score'
Companies that analyze behavior on social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter, can assign users an 'influence score' that basically rates how extroverted they are. I fear that an employer, looking at a low score, would miss the next Larry Page, the introvert CEO of Google.
(Page 2 of 2)
There’s a good chance these social analytic companies have already heard of you if you’re on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. In fact, they may have already assigned you an influence score based on the number of friends or followers you have, how often you post, how often your posts attempt to persuade. Several companies are already targeting consumers with high influence scores.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
But your influence score may also have a darker side: It may impact whether or not you get a job offer or a promotion. A few years ago, no one would have guessed that having a low credit score could cost you a job offer. Well, your influence score is going to be even more important to companies as they look for employees who can spread the word and gain clout and notoriety for businesses and their clients.
So why is this bad for introverts? You could argue that social media have been a boon to many introverts, who prefer to network without having to shake hands and make small talk. Yet, not surprisingly, studies have found that extroverts are heavier social media users. And the most prolific social media users – the ones much more likely to earn a high Influence Score – are less likely to be introverts.
You might also argue that Larry Page of Google – an introvert – is one of the most influential people in the world. And yet he isn’t an active social media user and would undoubtedly have a lower influence score than the average college kid.
I worry that a few years from now, after influence scores become as mainstream as credit scores, organizations looking for the next Larry Page or Steve Jobs might miss him, distracted by the glitter of other applicants’ Twitter feeds. Or they might find him and fail to promote him because he’s not much of a team player and prefers to work alone.
Of course, he (or she) can always go off and start his own company and change the world and create an environment and a workplace that is introvert-friendly, that lets people be themselves and work in ways that make them happy and productive.
Jim Sollisch is creative director at Marcus Thomas Advertising.