The good people at Like Minds pulled together a great panel and the debate was very wide reaching, so I’m only going to focus on a couple of the useful points I took away with me.
Behaviour, not values
The first point is that the tools that currently measure influence base their scores on your online behaviour, not your values or work or your offline behaviour. Now, I love watching rugby, I used to love playing rugby, I still play squash, however, I rarely ever tweet about either sport. I’d like to think I influence some people about rugby and squash, but no tool that uses social media as its data source is likely to pick that up.
Margin of error
For PRs it’s important to note that tools that provide influence scores or assign which topics someone is interested in, work best when aggregated. That is to say that individually they’re either right or wrong, but across 1,000 or 1,500 of the vast majority of people they’ve highlighted as being influential on topic X should indeed have some influence on topic X.
Don’t shoot the messenger
Azeem Azhar from PeerIndex made a point that perhaps is the most important one to note on a personal level. Tools like PeerIndex, Klout and Kred all publicly tell you what they think of you. Other tools, some developed for proprietary use by large brands, judge you and assign a value to you without you ever knowing what they think of you. A good, recent example is American chain Target figuring out a teenager was pregnant before her father knew. So, as much as people knock PeerIndex and its rivals for inaccuracy, at least they’re making their mistakes in the open.