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Getting into the coolest parties in town used to require attaining stardom or at least socialite status. But today, technology geeks might be found rubbing elbows with movie stars, if their social influence online is strong enough.

For major events such as Fashion’s Night Out, bloggers and tweeters receive invitations to get into the party early, so they will start the virtual buzz flowing. In Miami, the top social media guests even had access to a VIP area, protected from other partygoers. But the challenge for event planners is how best to identify the bloggers who exert the greatest influence.

For that, they turn to Klout. Analyzing data from 13 different online networks, Klout’s services can identify how people react to content that any blogger or tweeter puts online. The resulting Klout scores are public knowledge, so everyone knows just how influential each invitee might be. Klout also differentiates the dedicated bloggers with huge fan followings from casual posters who blog just for the fun of it.

In the former group, influential commentators are reaping the benefits, including invitations to parties they likely never dreamed of attending, reservations at the best restaurants, and special treatment nearly everywhere they go. Jason Binn, the founder of Niche Media, has a sky-high Klout score and more than 100,000 Twitter followers; for companies, he’s even more appealing as a guest than many celebrities.

Even without hundreds of thousands of followers, social media commentators and bloggers can provoke a dedicated following that earns them a high Klout score—which makes them just the type of people who should start expecting more invitations in their inboxes. Bloggers at Nubry.com, a fashion and style blog-a-zine, receive an average of five invitations per week to posh events across the US based their high Klout score and audience reach.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is Klout’s primary offer to other firms?
  2. If you were planning an event, would you focus more on inviting attendees with high Klout or more traditional fame, such as a famous actor?

Source: Beth Landman, “Are You a V.I.P.? Check Your Klout Score,” The New York Times, November 18, 2011.