This article originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal here
You have enough Facebook friends to fill a stadium, but how good is your network really?
Globality says it can tell you.
The service runs your Facebook and LinkedIn connections through an algorithm and scores your network according to its global reach and its diversity of connections. A good score of 200 or above means your network is global and diverse. A low score, 50 or below, means it needs some help.
The company, an “online accelerator” with users in more than 100 countries, will soon add Twitter, Google+, AngelList and other social networks into its scoring.
Globality’s algorithm is based on research from Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Osaka University showing that strong online networks correlate with offline success. Studies comparing entrepreneurs’ use of social media with their business success found that those who were well-positioned in online networks were the most successful.
Globality is one of a few companies to create social-media scoring or tracking tools. Another is Klout Inc., which devised a scoring system to measure a person’s online influence. The company recently merged with Lithium Technologies Inc., which helps brands build online customer communities. Others include PeerIndex, which identifies, ranks and scores experts online, and Little Bird, which enables users to get ranked lists of peer-validated experts by topic.
Eric Tyler got the idea for Globality last year while participating in Unreasonable at Sea–a program in which a group of entrepreneurs boarded a ship and traveled to 13 nations in 106 days. They met with investors, government officials and other entrepreneurs to learn how to turn their startups into global businesses. Mr. Tyler, an adjunct fellow at the New America Foundation, had been invited to share his expertise in mobile technology with the entrepreneurs and to write about the trip.
In each port, he asked entrepreneurs about their challenges, and frequently, they cited the difficulty of building networks that would position them for success. After returning to the U.S. he founded Globality and launched it in November.
Simply having a lot of virtual connections doesn’t guarantee a high score from Globality, especially if most of the connections are in the same location or are in the same industry. The system maps out the global reach of your network, finds the gaps in it, and helps identify people in various locations you should get to know. As you extend and diversify your social-networking ties, your score improves.
One Globality user, Catlin Powers, co-founder of One Earth Designs, scored a respectable 286 when she put her network to the test recently. Ms. Powers, whose company makes SolSource, a solar-cooking product, has strong entrepreneurial and scientific connections. With Globality’s help she said she hopes to expand her network among social entrepreneurs and to make new ties in other fields, such as media and retail.
Globality also provides users with access to more than 1,000 tools that entrepreneurs have found useful, such as online courses and project-management and project-design resources, Mr. Tyler said. These services and the network scoring are free to individuals. But Denver-based Globality plans to profit through enterprise partnerships, including alliances with corporations that want to score their own social-network following.