There are plenty of high-profile politicians and business people on Long Island with clout. But when it comes to Klout -- as measured by Klout.com -- they can be overshadowed by an adjunct college professor, jewelry business owner and vocal coach.
Klout is one of several scoring sites -- including PeerIndex, TweetLevel and Twitalyzer -- that help people measure their "social media influence."
Overall, the scores show how much a person -- or someone he or she pays -- engages followers on Twitter and in some cases Facebook and other sites, and how likely those followers are to take social media action based on what's said or recommended.
The average Klout score is in the 20s, and one in the 30s is getting strong, says Joe Fernandez, founder. U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy's Klout score is 41. rocker Billy Joel's, 50. TV commentator Bill O'Reilly's, 67.
Companies such as Starbucks, Virgin America and HP have used scores to identify "influencers" to receive freebies and special perks, with the hope they'll share comments with their online communities. Individuals use them to see and report how effectively they're developing those increasingly important social media skills.
Last fall, shortly before release of the animated film "Tangled," Jeff Namnum, 39, of South Hempstead, received a Disney Klout pack with the film soundtrack, a T-shirt, four themed silly bands, a stuffed lizard character and artwork.
"I'm fairly certain that they did some measurement and saw that I tweeted about my kids and family pretty often," said Namnum, father of three, Klout score of 56, and partner with Socialisle Llc, a social media consulting firm. His view on such scores: Their value is in measuring a person's "social currency" -- how helpful they are to others.
George Torres, 39, of Freeport, founder of Sofrito Media Group, with a Klout score of 59, says he's often approached by marketers with requests to collaborate, but "I am very selective." He did participate in a documentary project last year with Pepsi and, because of the "cultural connection," is considering a venture with a company that makes organic sofrito, a seasoning used in many Hispanic dishes.
Some people looking for social media-related jobs put scores on their resumes, Fernandez said. He's also heard of employers, many in public relations and marketing, who run Klout contests among employees, rewarding those whose scores improve the most.
Vera Sweeney, founder of I'm Not Obsessed Media, an entertainment and lifestyle site, includes her Klout score of 63 in her media kit. "It's common practice for social media influencers," said Sweeney, 33, of Garden City.
Klout calculates scores by crunching more than 35 variables on Facebook and Twitter, measuring, among other things, how engaged a person's followers are in commenting, clicking on links, retweeting. Certainly, with an emerging technology such online measuring tools are far from perfect. And, yes, they measure only social media chops, not a person's overall influence. Compare Justin Bieber's Klout score of 100 to Barack Obama's 86.
Still, respectable scores reflect best social media practices, such as connecting with influential people and conversing, as opposed to broadcasting, says Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding Llc, Boston, and author of "Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success."
How to improve your Klout score
Say Hi. When you follow someone new, introduce yourself in a tweet to them, says tweetlevel.edelman.com/.
Pitch in. Klout.com advises adding something new to the conversation. Don't just retweet links.
Be findable. Make it easy for people to find you. Include your Twitter handle on your blog, website, email signature, if appropriate.
Join chat. To learn more, check #KloutChat on April 6 to talk with Klout, its fans, critics. See klout.com/blog/