I remember a time back in college when the shallow gatekeepers of the most popular nightclub would walk the line looking for the pretty people - judging them by their hair, wardrobe or body - and then invite them to cut in front of the rest of us schmucks so they could come inside to join the party.
Of course, there was nothing scientific about what these muscle-packing bouncers were doing.
But these days, in an age where it's chic to be geek, science is exactly what sites like Klout are using to apply a number to a person's influence in online social networks. The idea is simple: the higher the number, the more influence that person has on sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
I stumbled upon a recent post on Advertising Age that profiles the "Klout Klub" at the Palms Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, named after Klout.com, a site that assigns a rating number to your online presence. Of course, the Palms will want these influencers to stay in a suite, relax in the spa, dine in their fine restaurants and take in all of the amenities that the hotel has to offer - all in the hopes that these same people will tweet or post status updates about what a great time they're having at the Palms.
When ego-massaging sites like Klout first surfaced a few years ago, the popularity of a person was measured solely by the number of followers. But, that's no longer the only metric. From the AdAge post:
Whereas many social metrics tend to look at sheer quantity -- how many fans or followers do you reach, Klout's algorithm is much deeper and more complex. Yahoo researcher, Duncan Watts, has long preached that the number of followers is a very poor predictor of ... anything, a problem Klout circumvents by not only looking at how many people subscribe to a twitter feed, but also how often they click on posted links, respond to, list, or retweet that user, and how influential those followers are, all of which can be qualified by specific topics, keywords, and geographic regions, made possible through access to Bit.ly's link tracking metrics and Twitter's firehose of data. Among the marketers already working with Klout are Starbucks, CoverGirl, Dannon Yogurt, Virgin America, and most recently, Fox.Can your
Now, it goes without saying that I - like many others will do when they finish reading this post - went straight to Klout.com to enter my Twitter screen name so I could see how I measured up.
My score was a 47 - but I have no idea what that number means. Will it score me a suite at the Palms or a free drink at the blackjack table (hey, aren't those already free?) or the recommendation of another hotel?The only thing I really know for sure from my profile page is that I rank lower than a few of my peers, whose scores were displayed so that I can... step up my game, I guess.
Just like college.