These days it is very rare for large corporations to come together and agree on a single standard, it is a pity really. Most companies who shout the loudest about good user experience etc. are the ones who promote their own substandard standards instead of supporting widely used ones. Some don’t admit it; others admit it but still push for their own useless, re-skinned and re-giggled technology (Yes, I am talking about Internet Exploder).

Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have finally come to an understanding and have announced schema.org, an initiative supporting a common set of schemas for structured data markup. According to a statement released by Google:

Schema.org aims to be a one stop resource for webmasters looking to add markup to their pages to help search engines better understand their websites. With schema.org, site owners can improve how their sites appear in search results not only on Google, but on Bing, Yahoo! and potentially other search engines as well in the future.

This week Google began supporting authoriship markup which is a way of creating relation between authors and their content on the web. You can use rel=”autho” and XFN rel=”me” to enable search engines and other services to identify your content and related it to your “author profile”.
Google says:

We know that great content comes from great authors, and we’re looking closely at ways this markup could help us highlight authors and rank search results.

An explicit indication author profile will be taken into account and would influence search results. This is great but not a new innovation. The scientific community has long used Hirsch index or H-index to measure the authority and impact scientists have in their respective fields of expertise.

The h-index is an index that attempts to measure both the productivity and impact of the published work of a scientist or scholar. The index is based on the set of the scientist’s most cited papers and the number of citations that they have received in other people’s publications. The index can also be applied to the productivity and impact of a group of scientists, such as a department or university or country.

Basically every scientist has a h index if (s)he has been published h articles which have been cited at least h times. The correlation of a scientist’s h-index is a key indicator of his/her achievements in their scientific field i.e. winning the Nobel prize.

In the context of social media an author has h-index if his or her articles or blog posts are retweeted at least h number of times. There some other factors significant author attributes that indicate authority, trust and influence such as number of mentions, number of RSS Subscribers, audience retweeting rate, user retweeting rate, and etc. The number of Followers indicating authority, trust or level of influence is a myth. In fact, if a user has high number of followers but low volume of mentions and retweets then it is very likely that they have inflated their profile through an automated process.

Image courtesy of Aleksander Karlsen