THE BLOG
10/27/2011 08:47 am ET | Updated Dec 27, 2011

It Is Your Reputation, After All

Remember those old AOL commercials on TV, the "You've got mail" campaign? It was wildly successful as a marketing slogan, as a commercial, and even as the title of a movie.

Times change. Social media is no longer just a buzzword, but really a part of daily life. It might even be like a utility in the near future, something the average person literally cannot live without. Now the new thing is a play on the old one, "You've got Klout." Or do you? Or do you have Peerindex? Do you know your grade on Grader? Do you know what your Kred is?

It's ok, most people have no clue. But you need to get a clue. It might seem like fun and games as in the social media stock market "Empire Avenue." But the reality is, people are watching. Employers, potential employers, clients, friends, enemies, ex-spouses, competitors, the police, governments, and of course giant database companies. It is like credit scores were maybe 25 years ago: they mattered but they did not rule your life like credit scores such as FICO do now. Social media influence and "credibility" are of increasing importance. So these scores, whether real or gamed, whether you subscribe or not, matter.

Klout did it again. They went and changed everyone's numbers. Yes, everyone, even if you are not registered with them. They still monitor you, like a credit rating agency in real life. But most of the other analytical tools that measure social media don't change as radically or as often as Klout. So what? Consistency is the key to listening and monitoring. These changes affect people's reputations and people have little direct control over how those changes directly affect them. Klout risks losing market credibility with such wild changes to people's numbers, without any charts showing historical records and how those numbers changed according to algorithmic changes as opposed to changes in the users social media behavior.

People are upset as evidenced by the thousands of tweets and posts on Facebook, at least those who follow this or care. But it affects all of us, at least all of us using the internet. It affects all of us with an email address attached to any social network, and therefore what people see in Google and Bing searches when they look you up. It really affects us because there are no standards being applied to the social analytics we are talking about, so numbers vary widely between the providers, and as Klout has demonstrated twice in the past 3 months, can vary widely within one service.

Think about the big picture. Do not just rely on one of these services, but you should be actively checking on the health of your reputation. There are ways to make changes, but it requires one to pay attention first. You need to. Others are already.

Re-published on Silberberg Innovations