If anyone cares to do a Google search on my feelings of automatic and proprietary algorithms on ranking online influence and reputation – have at it. In a nutshell I think it’s all bunk. I’m starting to warm up to the idea – IF done and interpreted correctly.
The problem, of course, is that some people and companies take these rankings as the end-all-be-all authority. When I hear stories of people being fired or not hired based on their Klout score steam comes out of my ears.
Now it seems there is a new player on the scene, PeerIndex (thanks for the heads-up Marcy Massura). According to Wikipedia “PeerIndex measures influence by measuring Activity, Audience and Authority.”
Apparently I joined the PeerIndex system around February 2011 (I just searched my email and found that to be the case). So rather than label PeerIndex ‘new’, I’ll say it’s the newest major player in the game.
As far as how I’m being graded in PeerIndex, I can’t find any explanation outside of the Wikipedia entry. What I am being shown as an influencer on are things that are fairly accurate, so hats off for that. One thing that struck me as odd is my listing for ‘horse racing’. I attended ONE event last week and sent out some Tweets and maybe a Google+ and Facebook update. I’ve never really talked about it before, and probably won’t from this point forward (this post notwithstanding).
Of course somehow Marcy is also ranked on “horse racing” same as me. Even though she is West Coast and I’m East Coast, apparently we have a mutual love of horse betting and bookies. Or something like that.
The biggest road test of PeerIndex will be when I need to use it for work. The data is pretty useless to businesses unless we can search and aggregate it to find the people we need to work with in the industries and genres we need to focus on. I’ve got a doozy of a niche client looking for influencers nationwide so I’ll be putting PeerIndex to the test really soon.
Now, what do people really need to be highly and popularly ranked in platforms like PeerIndex and Klout? For the perks of course! PeerIndex’s perks look pretty foreign to me, mostly because their perks are listed in £ pounds. Also, they really aren’t perks but more like discounts. This either means all of my ‘work’ online has gained me a certain level of discounts on stuff I probably don’t want. It also means (to me) I also don’t have a high enough PI (PeerIndex) level or I’d be offered free loot. All of the true (free) perks I’ve seen on the site are closed out and nothing new seems to be filling in.
PeerIndex is UK-based which I like (hey, all of digital media does not revolve around North America). I’m US-based, but am ALL for an exclusive Doctor Who Experience or Warner Bros Harry Potter Tour perk (I would pick up my own airfare for those two). At this point I’d even be happy with an Android tablet (since I’ve got some PI with Android and Google). I don’t even own an Android device. How I’m an authoritative person on this topic is beyond me. Maybe my audience are big Android fans? Again, clueless.
When it comes right down to it, services like PeerIndex, Klout and Kred are starting points. The are marketing machines. They are data collectors. Please use them responsibly.
If you are an ‘influencer’ you have a few things to learn from your profiles on these services:
- Don’t let your ‘influence’ go to your head. If you are listed as an influencer on Google Inc. for example, chances are you can’t walk into the Googleplex and head to a corner office.
- If your points of interest aren’t what you think they should be (or want them to be) you need to stop talking, sharing, and interacting with those things and start chattin’ it up about the things you do want to be known for. In the end, people and computer algorithms only know about what you the things you type.
If you are a business looking to work with people that fall in your genre of interest this is what you need to know:
- People are more than the sum of their online communications. Treat them as people if you reach out to them and not a commodity.
- Research research research! Read their social platforms, read their blogs, read how they portray themselves on Twitter vs. Facebook vs. LinkedIn. Look for clues they are receptive to talking (or working) with you.
NOTE: Years ago I publicly professed my hatred for Klout. At the time they were the only game in town for automating online influence. I rage quit. Then a friend-that-shall-be-named (Marcy again) convinced me that I should jump back in the game if only for the sake of my work. To be honest, it was because of my work with digital media that I soured to the entire idea of having some computer program read through my content online and make a flat determination about me. Klout, in its first generation of algorithms, declared me an expert in mullets, and refused to let me change the identification (Klout has now gone on to greatly improve their service, even if they still don’t offer me any interesting Perks for my score of 77). I can tell you the ONLY reason my Klout score looks anywhere decent is my reach and activity on Google+.