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Influence: The new currency of Web 3.0

We recently dipped our toes into Influence and the Social Web and it’s very interesting to see how deep this rabbit hole goes. The emergence of the social graph and online influence has spurred an entirely new commercial model: Influence Measurement and Marketing.

As an example, let’s take that original article on Memeburn and measure its influence. By dropping the URL into Backtype, we find that the article has a reach of 14,228 impressions on Twitter from just 12 Tweets. That’s just one article. Now consider your personal influence in the social web. You have a Facebook profile, a Twitter account, a LinkedIn profile, a blog, a Disqus profile for web-wide comments, a Foursquare account, a Google account… and  a plethora of other online accounts. Combined together this represents your online “Über-Profile”.

The next Web trend is likely to be measurement of the impact, reach and “splash” of this Über-Profile. Beyond ego-stroking and pissing-contests, this Über-Profile has real value. Not only to marketers who are desperately trying to catch up to the empowered consumer through using various Online Reputation Management tools, but to you – the consumer.

The social web empowers the consumer beyond measure. In fact, the social web has solidified the personal brand. You must begin to consider yourself as a brand. In fact, the individual could teach companies a thing or two about online marketing. How many companies do you know with as many online profiles as you, or that monitor as many online channels as you do, or are as responsive to online engagement as you are?

Your personal brand and Über-Profile are beginning to change the economy. We are being empowered to dictate to brands on a whole range of economic indicators: price points, discounts, standards, safety, environmental issues, group buying, quality and service levels. The sooner you start measuring your social graph’s influence and optimising your online engagement, the more prepared you will be for this shift and the more value you will be able to extract. Your online influence will become an actual currency.

First Generation Measurement Tools – Twitter
Let’s take a quick look at some first generation influence measurement tools. These tools usually measure only one channel; Twitter for example. Here’s my personal Twitter Influence:
Klout – “Rob Dickens is a Networker. You know how to connect to the right people and share what’s important to your audience. You generously share your network to help your followers. You have a high level of engagement and an influential audience.”
Topsy – Topsy Influence measures the likelihood that, each time you say something, people will pay attention. Influence for Twitter users is computed using all historical retweets: millons of real, public statements indicating who’s listening to whom. “Influential” tags appear for the top 0.5% most influential Twitter users.
Grader – “Rank 482 813 out of 7 902 076 with a Grade of 94 out of 100. TwitterGrader.com has some great influence measurement tools HERE.”

There are many tools out there for measuring Twitter influence (just Google to find them), so try out a few to get an all-round measurement as they are all using different algorithms and data points.

This sort of measurement is often nothing more than ego-stroking, but it can give you great insight into improving your online influence.

However, with these tools, it’s difficult to calculate the actual value of my influence.

Next Generation Measurement Tools
Now this is where it gets interesting. The first generation tools are rather simplistic. Although they do utilise advanced algorithms to determine your influence, they are one dimensional as opposed to multi-channel. We need to measure our Über-Profile in its entirety. Here are three companies – all in beta – that you need to watch:

Soovox – an influence marketing platform, recently unveiled “Social IQ”, a comprehensive social influence measurement application.

This influence marketing algorithm leverages all of a user’s social media networks and bookmarking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace and dynamically calculates their influence and combines social gaming elements with real rewards for a user’s social networking behaviour.

PeerIndex – PeerIndex claims to be algorithmically mapping out the social web. The idea behind PeerIndex is summed up in the tagline: “Understand your social capital.” According to founder Azeem Azhar: “We see online authority as social capital accumulated on a daily basis through one’s network, interactions and online presence.”

Empire Avenue – Empire Avenue is an online influence stock exchange combined with an advertising platform that allows individuals and organisations to convert their online influence and reach into revenue.

As a marketer it’s difficult to keep up with this dynamic new industry. Here are two marketing reports that will help you make some sense of it all.
Razorfish – Fluent Marketing Report

Altimeter – The New Rules of Relationship Management