A method for democratization of online influence

Imagine a situation in which we’re assigned and identified with a particular number, which suggest how influential we are or are not. It would help decide whether one receives a job, a guest-room upgrade or some free samples at a high-profile supermarket. In case your influence score happens to be low, you wouldn’t get the promotion, the swanky suite of your choice or the complimentary offers. If you think this is science fiction, pause for a moment; it’s actually the case with millions of online social network users.

Those having  a LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter  account, are already being tested and judged – or soon will be. Companies carrying names like Klout, Twitter Grader and PeerIndex are involved in the process of scoring countless users on their specific level of influence – or in the official lingo, rating ‘influencers’. These companies are not just looking at the total number of friends or followers you have amassed. Instead, they’re looking to measure or grade the influence in more subtle ways, and then posting their judgments – in the form of an online score.

Social score ‘influences’ your brand equity

Got Twitter and Facebook profile, then you have probably already been scored…It is an offbeat method, to some, encouraging the genuine democratization of online influence. You need not any longer be a celebrity, a media personality or a politician to be considered highly influential. To stubborn critics, this is a senseless new technosphere, wherein your vague rating could help decide how you’re treated by all those with whom you might interact – both online and offline – including by prospective employers, retailers, and even prospective dates

This is why your social score greatly ‘influences’ your offline image. So how can one actually become an influencer? A thorough analysis of more than 22 million tweets, a team of researchers at Hewlett-Packard concluded that it was not enough to draw more Twitter followers; you must also be able to inspire them to initiate action, which well could mean persuading your followers to share an apple pie recipe or to donate to the Sierra Club. To put it in other words, the process of influencing is more about becoming proactive – prompting engagement and providing motivation, than just about building up long legions of followers.

Learn to optimize your digital presence

As industry professionals explain, it is important to fine-tune, focus and channelize your digital presence a couple of key areas of interest. It’s no point in becoming a generalist with no special skills or niche areas. Most importantly: convince users of your passion, knowledge and trustworthiness. As far as influence in the offline realm is concerned, it doesn’t count.

Companies like PeerIndex describe this as ‘the Clay Shirky problem’, denoting the writer-theorist who won’t utilize Twitter much. It is obvious that he or she is massively influential, and has a poor PeerIndex right now.