A new space is emerging that hopes to measure social influence online. The concept is promising but is still very new. One player, in particular, that is making progress in the arena is Klout.
As a service that measures how influential people are on the social Web, Klout looks at the content that users create and analyzes what it is they’re talking about. From there, it examines how people react to that content, thus finding the influence.
This new metric has been referred to as an equivalent to Google’s PageRank for the social Web. Because Google continues to tweak PageRank, we can understand how a similar metric for the social Web would be an ongoing challenge as well. For example, one person might be very influential to another person but may not have a very high Klout Score, since Klout measures data for efforts across the entire social Web.
Fernandez pointed out, specifically, that, according to their data, Justin Beiber is more influential online than President Obama is. While that is hard for some people to swallow, he said that a video of Justin Bieber gets considerably more clicks and links than a video of President Obama gets.
“We just kind of let the data speak for itself,” he said.
In addition, Jeremiah Owyang recently released a report that found that, while Klout is a useful metric, it offers an incomplete view of customers for brands. Fernandez said that, while Klout is a critical data point that adds value to customer service and targeting decisions, businesses should consider other data points as well.
Fernandez also acknowledges the challenge of spam and said that the company takes it very seriously.
“It’s something that we’re going to have to continue to face, and honestly, we have to do a better job at it,” he said.
For people and businesses that want to boost their Klout Score, Fernandez recommends being consistent. Klout Score largely depends on how much the person is involved in the conversation and whether or not he is adding value.