A Vain or Productive Pursuit – The Rise of Individual Branding Websites

Social InfluenceThere is a new sort of website that has emerged – a website that focuses on how strong your social  influence is on the web.  Individuals that join these websites are given some sort of a score.  The higher your score, the more influential (supposedly) you are on the web.  Some examples of these websites are empireavenue.com, klout.com, kred.com and peerindex.com.  Here we explore some of the obvious, and perhaps not so obvious, questions surrounding these websites. JFZXB3XDRHHF 
1. How do they give you a score?
There are two methods: a) based on the popularity of your various social media accounts and b) how other users rate you.  Some of these websites ask you to enter in all your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, etc) and they take a look at how many followers, likes, comments, etc you have on your pages.  The more activity, the better, and this boosts your score.  Also, other users on the site can boost your score by giving you some sort of points.  Take empireavenue.com for example; all users are publicly traded, and any user can buy a stock in another user.
2. How do you boost your score?
Boosting your score involves being more active online with your social media accounts, and gaining the support of other users.  This means tweeting more, getting your followers to re-tweet your tweets, getting more friends on Facebook, getting more likes on your Facebook posts, and so on.  This also means making friends with other users, and convincing them somehow to give you points.  Often this is achieved through reciprocal actions – by your giving them points in return.
3. Is all this a vain pursuit?
These websites are growing steadily in popularity.  This begs the question:  do these websites provide true value?  Or are the users just indulging in a vain pursuit?  One could conclude it means little in the end if you have a high score.  Yet one could also say that those with a high score truly do yield a lot of influence on the web, a very powerful asset in itself.  And the pursuit of a higher score teaches you how to influence others.  More importantly, you learn how to reciprocate, and form support groups who will boost your status on the web if you in turn boost theirs.  Perhaps there is some value in these websites after all.

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