We are in a time of convergence. Traditionally, influence was in the hands of the media. Now anyone with access to a cell phone can be engaged and influence a community. As our online identities now focus on our real name, personal brand isn't merely a celebrity worry anymore.
How this influence is measured is changing and Klout and Kred (amongst others) are all vying to be the barometer that we use to measure it. But which one is going to top the other or is there room for them all?
Today we had the opportunity to speak with Andrew Grill, CEO of Kred, as well as attend a fireside conversation with Klout's founder and CEO, Joe Fernandez.
Let's start with the current top dog, Klout.
Four years ago, Klout was started in New York in Fernandez's bedroom on the Lower Eastside. He planted a flag in the word influence to turn it from something subjective to something backed by data. When you recommend, share, and create content you impact others so your Klout score measures that influence on a scale of one to 100.
At a basic level, Fernandez wants people to learn about their influence.
How do we help individuals understand their scores? We're not here to sell any data. The focus has always been on people.
What makes Klout different, according to Fernandez, is the quality of the analytics and the scale. For the past four years they have been evolving and collecting data. Now they get 4 billion pieces of content a day with more than 6000 companies taking Klout data and using it as a standard.
With this mix of data and social, Klout has become so well considered in the celebrity biz that even Britney Spears' manager is calling up to find out why Lady Gaga has a higher Klout score and is asking what they can do to change it.
As for its global reach?
Brazil, Indonesia, Japan - they're all using the same tools and creating content and engaging. In fact, Brazil is the second biggest country for Klout users. Klout is the whole world indexed against each other so worth is the same. You can't think of borders with social media.
The newest kid on the influence block has to be Kred.
Though as an influencer measure, Kred was only launched the latter half of last year, it is part of the four year old social analytics company, PeopleBrowsr. Behind the numbers are 1000 days of Twitter data and Kred scores move in real time so you can see your score change minute by minute as well as why it has changed.
Kred started with the thought "What if there was a bubble over everyone's head that told me who they were." So they began scoring people in two areas: influence and outreach.
Kred influence is measured by the actions people take because of your content. This means your influence score increases when someone retweets, @replies or follows you. Your outreach, on the other hand, is the measure of your generosity so it increases when you retweet, @reply, or follow a new person.
While Klout seems to be reaching out more to brands to gain Klout perks for influencers, Kred has gone to the community. Grill says:
It's all about community for us. We've reached out to people who have shown leadership in their respective communities and made them Kred leaders.
We get leaders talking about Kred and they can access our tool to see who their community is. Instead of us working with companies around influence, they will be able to get advice from our community leaders on how to reach the right people.
The plan is to have 30 Kred leaders and Kred has recently announced its first three: Zem Joaquin, Sean Gardner and Jessica Northey. It's also looking to agencies to use Kred as a tool to find influencers in the communities they want to reach.
Currently Kred is selling itself as transparent and working in real time, which the other influence measurement companies aren't doing...yet.
Though the manipulation of data on the Kred site is interesting and takes away the scoring mystery which Klout still carries, they won't be big players until they integrate a wider range of social platforms. It's coming the site says, so when it does, who knows who will be the bigger player in a year’s time.
Are all these numbers important?
Well, no, not today and probably not tomorrow. Some companies have vibrant communities who will never touch a social platform so this tool isn't useful.
But as the first digital generation ages and we hit the tipping point where more people than not are completely integrated with an online, socially driven world, we may see these numbers with more importance. This combined with a credit score could change the way day to day processes work.
Until then, we'll continue to have a play until the game is a bit more serious.