Many people think Klout scores, from the social network reputation measuring service, are nonsense. They're not. People get hired because of their Klout scores, and now your next promotion may be determined by your Klout score, since Microsoft will be integrating Klout into its Yammer enterprise social network software.
Microsoft, which invested in Klout last year, has believed in Klout's value for some time. The company was already integrating Klout scores into Bing search results.
As for the recently purchased Yammer, Microsoft uses Yammer as an internal social network. Microsoft has also been integrating Yammer into SharePoint and Office 365 to form a Microsoft groupware stack.
Yammer isn't just being used in Microsoft. According to Klout, over 85 percent of the Fortune 500 are deploying Yammer. Rather than having workers express themselves on public social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, Yammer encourages users to keep their work and off-the-clock comments in-house. Considering how badly some people suffer from foot-in-mouth disease on the public social networks, it's easy to see why companies would encourage the use of an internal social network.
Pavan Tapadia, a key leader on the Yammer product team, explained in the official announcement of the partnership that "Klout’s integration with Yammer is twofold."
"First, as a Yammer user, you can publish your public Klout score and expertise directly on your Yammer profile," Tapadia said. "If you're someone who has a lot of influence in the public social sphere, this is a cool way to showcase your Klout score in the workplace. The second aspect of integration allows Yammer admins to turn on a deeper integration with Klout to produce Yammer-specific Klout scores for employees based on their activity within their company's Yammer network. This is a great opportunity for organizations to identify top contributors and subject matter experts based on their Yammer participation."
Of course, if you'd rather juggle chainsaws after a couple of beers than be active on social networks (either corporate, Yammer, or public, Facebook, Twitter, or Google+), this is not good news.
Klout, needless to say, puts a more positive spin on it: "Here’s an example of how this might work in your company: Imagine your graphic designer is also a talented photographer and DJ (like Klout designer, Geoff Olegario!). Geoff handles most of our photography needs, and serves as our resident DJ at Klout. We're guessing (hoping!) he enjoys these opportunities to flex his creative muscles beyond his day job. Until today, most large companies lacked the tools to surface and embrace this expertise and talent at scale. By joining forces with Yammer, we envision a world where employers understand and harness the influence and talents of their employees to create a more fulfilling and connected workplace for everyone."
I guess it all depends on how comfortable you are with social networking. For some of us, it comes easily. Others ... not so much.
Like it or lump it, the Yammer/Klout partnership shows that how effectively active you are on social networking will clearly matter more and more, not just in finding work but in moving ahead within your company.