The Business-Technology Weave

Jun 27 2011   7:45AM GMT

Social Intelligence, Part II

David Scott David Scott Profile: David Scott

 

Today’s article follows on to yesterday’s Part I, where we discussed a relatively new company, Social Intelligence Corporation (SIC), and it’s offering of services to employers.  Please see that if you haven’t already.

 

Someone made a great point (credit Steve Doocy of Fox News):  What if you take a picture today of you hanging out with a friend, post it to a social networking account – and that friend becomes a felon in the future?  Is SIC going to deliver a future report to a prospective employer, stating that you associate with known felons?

 

Max Drucker, CEO of SIC, answered the question as a definite:  “Probably not.”  That’s hardly reassuring, although he does say that employers are primarily interested in the following categories for screening applicants:

 

-          Racist remarks

-          Clearly illegal activity such as drug use

-          Sexually explicit photos and videos

-          Flagrant displays of weapons or bombs

 

“Those are the things we look for, we don’t look for associations.”  But what will Mr. Drucker and SIC deliver in the event employers DO ask for associations?  I can’t say with certainty, but I know this:  SIC is in business to deliver a service.  That service is, essentially, a background check on potential employees.  SIC, and any service company, stays in business by filling the service expectations of clients – here, employers.  When employers start asking for “known associations,” companies like SIC are likely to deliver.

 

Michael Fertik, CEO of Reputation.com, makes several interesting points.  He notes that, at present, human beings at SIC are making nuanced, human, judgments about content and those people who generate it – people, in this context, who are prospective employees.  However, it won’t be long before competitor companies seek to deliver this service to employers faster, better (in competitors’ minds), and cheaper – and this will involve… automation.  Mr. Fertik’s points are well taken.

 

Here’s my take:  Automation frequently delivers a “dumb” report regarding content.  That is, there is no nuance, no judgment; there is lack of balance, and frequently a view to content that is a 180 degree diametric opposite of what that content might truly represent in its full context, outside the constricting view of a static report.

 

I made the point yesterday, in Part I, that someone might join an online group for purpose of monitoring; for example, a student might even join a hate site for purpose of a school report on such activities. 

 

Consider what SIC would make of that…

 

 

NP:  Two Degrees East, Three Degrees West – John Lewis/Jim Hall – Jazz24.org

 

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