Do the number followers in Twitter matter? How many messages are retweeted? How many followers of my retweeters? We are constantly updating our model for assessing influence via social media. All sorts of numbers can affect influence. Those numbers often are specific to the platform people are using. For example, inbound links matter to assessing blogs, followers matter to Twitter. While it's easy to list out the data points that are reflective of influence what's not easy is reducing that long list to the ones that really matter, can be inventoried and actually be used.
We plot our influencers on a XY axis of "influence" and "relevance". Each of those measures is comprised of 3-5 data points - thorough but not a complete pain to apply to our daily work. It works. Within the context of a client engagement, we know who is more critical to our success.
Klout has developed a simple dashboard that will crawl a user Twitter account and return:
1. a Klout Score: a composite number comprised of data points rolled up into three categories - "true reach," amplification and network
2. an Influence Matrix: a Klout Classification and list of those who most influence you and those you most influence
3. a Content Analysis: essentially the most mentioned terms
The Klout Score includes unique retweeters, number of retweets, unique mentioners and list memberships. These are all indicators of how people are interacting with your tweets. And no mention of the number of followers. Not sure I agree with that but I see where they are going. If the true promise of social media is interaction and dialogue then let's stop evaluating it by simple reach terms (like the number of followers).
The Klout Classification plots you on an rather complex XY axis and then offers a bit of a profile describing you as a "specialist" or a celebrity or a tastemaker. That's an excerpt of my Klout profile at the head of the post. I am happy enough to be plotted as a specialist. (Really, I am just glad not to be in the first quadrant).
I like Klout. At the end of the day they are using some of the most relevant data points to gauge influence from behavioral data. And like any model, including our own, the most useful scale - Klout Score - only makes sense if you use it all of the time to judge relative influence. It is not a portable value per se. If you buy into its source data, it can e a helpful model when you compare a variety of people's Klout Scores.