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Popular Tweeters Get Special Treatment

Do you have clout on Twitter? Check out Klout and find out. Klout is a company that measures influence on the social network Twitter and sells that information to advertisers. Advertisers might then decide to give you special treatment so that you spread the word about their product to your followers. The only problem is you might not know they are treating you better than everyone else.

The service tracks stats on tweeters such as the number of followers, the type of followers (for example, being followed by a company isn't as important as being followed by actual people), and the content of the tweets. It determines how much influence someone has on the folks who follow them.

Take a tweeter like MNeylon. This tweeter lives in Ireland and only has a few thousand followers. But on various tech topics this Tweeter has authority so MNeylon gets a score of 54 out of 100.

This kind of information could be really helpful to a local tech retail shop. If they know MNeylon has influence over where people go to buy new computers they can give him extra goodies when he comes to their store. But, if MNeylon doesn't know what they are doing couldn't his tweets be deceiving to other potential customers? After all, they aren't likely to get the red carpet when they come in to shop.

I talked to co-founder Joe Fernandez about this in an email and he thinks that Klout is actually a democratizing force that allows ordinary people to get special treatment. Fernandez said he would have to think further about the fact that influencers might not know they are getting special treatment.

I fear that in the new world of social media many people are still naive. On television almost everyone knows an ad from a program, but in this new media world it may be much harder for people to discern the difference.