Have you heard of Klout, PeerIndex, or Twitter Grader? If you haven’t yet, chances are that if you’re in the social media world in any capacity, you soon will. These sites score online users on their so-called “influencer” abilities in the virtual world. While these sites haven’t reached into all pockets of online activity to give completely transparent ratings, they have made inroads into websites like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, to rate users on their ability to motivate crowds to take action, whether it be trying a new activity or joining a parade. According to Stephanie Rosenbloom, a reporter with The New York Times, "influence is about engagement and motivation, not just racking up legions of followers."
Great Deals for Influencers
Don’t excuse these “influencer” scores so fast. Though these ratings of online influence may not seem like a big deal at first, your opinion might quickly change once you hear that highly rated influencers are amassing pretty unbelievable privileges. Rosenbloom notes that:
“Virgin America used the company [Klout] to offer highly rated influencers in Toronto free round-trip flights to San Francisco or Los Angeles. In Las Vegas, the Palms Hotel and Casino is using Klout data to give highly rated guests an upgrade or tickets to Cirque du Soleil.”
Virtual World takes Precedence
These online virtual scoring websites pay no attention to your presence offline. You may be a great orator or performer, inspiring hundreds through live presentations, but so long as your online activity does not reflect the rubric set forth by these grading sites, you are practically excused as being obsolete. This helps balance the playing field and proves that anyone can achieve a great score if they conduct themselves properly online to achieve the status of a great influencer.
Know Your Field of Interest. Well.
To merit a good score, Rosenbloom advises: “Don’t be a generalist. Most importantly: be passionate, knowledgeable and trustworthy.” These words of wisdom can take anyone far. Particularly in the online world, it’s important to establish yourself in a specific area and show that you are proficient in all that it encompasses. You don’t have to prove to be an Einstein across the board but make sure that you know your field of interest extremely well. That way, you can create for yourself a respectable reputation where others will view you as a reliable source for information in your area of interest.
Critiques of the Scoring Rubric
Despite the ability of these "influencer" scores to impact real change for highly rated influencers, there’s no doubt that these sites have holes to fix. A person can be extremely influential, but if they don’t generate much online activity, then their score will be quite low, a problem which Azeem Azhar, chief executive of PeerIndex, realizes needs to be addressed.
While the scoring rubrics need to be tweaked, these sites have proven to be a force in the virtual world that can surely impact how people view their reputation online. So the next time you sign into Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook, just remember- you really can make a difference.