"Influence" is a funky mistress, as a recent Klout review of TIME magazine's top 100 most influential people reveals.
“We define influence as the ability to drive action, and we find that keeping up a steady cadence of quality content inspires people to stay engaged with you online,” said Lynn Fox, who wrote the rankings post for Klout's blog.
We suppose that Fox meant "the ability to drive online action," because that's all Klout can realistically measure. Yet, as Mashable rightly notes, just over half (53%) of the TIME 100 even had Klout scores (because they were participating in social media). Still, it is interesting that a majority of the world's most influential people are using social media. It is more interesting, still, that most of those influential people have Klout scores that are indicative of their overall influence, as Mashable notes:
A shift in what drives influence greatly impacted the movers-and-shakers who landed on this year’s list. Justin Bieber is the only person with a perfect 100 Klout score, perhaps thanks to his “beliebers.” Bieber made last year’s Time 100. Other high scorers are Rihanna (95), Lady Gaga (94) and Barack Obama (92) — all on this year’s list. Mashable’s own Pete Cashmore ranks high, too, with a Klout score of 89.
Of course, one would expect the likes of the President and Lady Gaga to have pervasive presences on social media, right? The chicken/egg question here is whether their presence on social media drove their present-day influence, or if they turned to social media out of some sort of perceived obligation to tap every available marketing channel. Klout's blog noted the following:
As TIME Editor Rick Stengel writes in his excellent opening letter, “Before microphones and television were invented, a leader had to stand in front of a crowd and bellow. Now she can tweet a phrase that reaches millions in a flash. Influence was never easier — or more ephemeral.” This is an important statement from a publication that issues the annual barometer of real-world influence.
Not sure if that resolves our chicken/egg dilemma, but it raises a good point - and one upon which PolitiKlout is essentially founded - that social media influence is just an extension of real-world influence. If the relative clout, so to speak, of a Facebook or Twitter user didn't translate into real-world influence, it wouldn't be worth pursing. And so the opposite is true: because the relative clout of a social media practitioner does, in fact, tend to translate into real-world influence, it is absolutely worth targeting and leveraging.