There's quite a bit of controversy over Salesforce.com's advert for a community manager whose qualifications include having a specific Klout score, a service that attempts to rank a person's online influence. I'm surprised it's taken this long for companies to officially mandate that some jobs require a certain level of community influence.
In February 2006 I wrote: A job advertisement from the future . . .
Wanted: Head of Corporate Communications for a fast growing Silicon Valley startup. Competitive salary and stock options. Candidates must have a Google Page Rank of at least 5. And/or an Alexa rank of at least 750,000 or better...
At the time there was no Klout score but there were other metrics. And it makes complete sense. Software engineers originally got into blogging because it raised their visibility in their communities and that led to work. The same is true for other professions.
In reference to Salesforce.com, Jeremiah Owyang from Altimeter Group, wrote on Facebook that he is "all for it" because it helps employers hire better people.
On Techcrunch, Drew Olanoff wrote that Salesforce's focus on Klout scores was "stupid."
Numbers always win, there's always a metric and even if it isn't the perfect metric, there is always a metric of one kind or another being used to judge people's performance. Klout is part of today's metrics, like it or not, (and many don't).
Klout is a poor metric primarily because it changes its algorithm constantly, resulting in wild swings in people's scores based on nothing but changes in how it conducts its secret assessments. And it doesn't take into account the original posts and Tweets that a person produces but only looks at what is shared, and how widely it is shared, regardless of the readership of the content.
However, regardless of how its measured, it's important for people that want to work in the world of influence to be active online, writing articles, active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
I constantly see PR and marketing folk advising clients on social media strategies yet I rarely see them posting anything online, not even retweets, the easiest form of engagement. Surely, there's a serious disconnect here.
There's many that don't "like" social media or they "don't believe in it" as if it is Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy.
Social media is what it is, it can be a pain to maintain your presence but that's the rules of the game these days. Those rules will change and they do change, which is why if you are in communications -- both journalism and PR/marketing -- you better know when the rules change.
You have to be in it to get it.