Thanks for sharing my article. See the problem we have today is that but everyone is trying to change the definition of influence in its core, from some known experts to tools that you are mentioning in this post.
Definition of Influence is really simple - Influence is power to sway. But more important then knowing definition is to understand influence.
Understanding “influence” in contemporary online/and mobile life, means understanding contemporary notions of identity and identity construction.
Identity, ideas of person and self are culture constructs, they are ideas and values that are part of our culture. The ethnographic work that i have carried out most especially on mobile brands and on online behavior suggests a shift away from a view of the person as “a bounded, unique, more-or-less integrated motivational and cognitive universe, a dynamic center of awareness, emotion, judgment, and action organized into a distinctive whole and set contrastively both against other such wholes, and against a social and natural background.” (Geertz 1983:59). This is the classic anthropological definition of individualism – the identity ideal of the West for so long.
Social media reveals a new world of the “relational self”:
Emerging mobile technologies especially support what anthropologists would call “relational” self ideals.
The mobile vanguard is
constantly connected to and connecting with one another via these technologies
Trying to reach consensus
Sharing news of each others’ lives
Forming Facebook and other social media communities
Lives and selves become reflections of the lives and selves of others
In the mobile and online life people appear to define themselves by relating to others
I would suggest to look at online influence by viewing the phenomenon through the lens or prism of emerging “relational” self ideals – these ideals are re-emerging, rather than emerging. They are a throwback to previous notions of the person, notions dominant in previous historical eras. To a time when people defined themselves primarily in terms of their relationship to others and to the traditions, offices and roles that mark out the operation of society.
Klout satisfies the top of Maslow’s hierarchy: that of self-actualization. The feeling of having Klout is one of empowerment and also a bit of transcendence – getting beyond oneself.
Maslow, of course, is one of the oldest tool kits in the book, thus again proving that we don’t need a whole new construct to understand humans and technology because humans species haven’t changed and the same anthropological/sociological tool kit perfectly well explains changing behaviors.
In my opinion, part of Klout, even with its current lack of definition (and as we have discussed is more a form of awareness than anything else) is so hyped because of the personal delivery of Maslow’s highest state of self-actualization - Building YOURSELF through making social connections or seemingly interweaving your wills into your own agendas.
I can say that so far only Danny and Sam came very close to understanding influence as whole. Both are looking way beyond just awareness and i think that framework that Sam and Danny developed and are working on it will be essential tool for every CMO out there.
At SXSW this year where i was talking about influence i did present latest study that was carried out with regards to importance of Klout, Kred or PeerIndex scores in marketing strategy. The key learning from the study was that the influence score accounted for only 3% of the variation in "response". That is, 97% of the differences in behavioral response were driven by factors other than social influence. The mere fact that someone sends and has ability to share a message is too simplistic in social media. Just cause a message goes out in the “ether” doesn’t mean it has any impact at all. It is just broadcast. There are many other factors that relate to see if a message that is sent is actually received, seized upon and integrated. So the idea that because a “sender” has a high influence score is influential is what we prove against. Many other factors (time, type of message, object...) have greater importance.
I am more then happy to share study with you if you want to see and dig into.