Studying the impact of innovation on business and society

Welcome to the EGOsystem: How Much Are You Worth?

What’s your Klout score?

How many people follow you on Twitter?

What’s your authority on Peerindex?

How are peers rating you on Honestly?

What’s your rank in Quora?

Are you tracked by Traackr?

The answers equate to a market harbinger that’s both alarming and telling…how much is your digital persona worth in today’s social economy.

We’ll explore the nuances and the impact on brands and personal brands live on stage at SXSW. Join me,’s Sean Rad and Arnie Gullov-Singh and Klout’s Joe Fernanez on Saturday 3/12 at 5 p.m. in Ballroom D in the Austin Convention Center.

The #EGOsystem

If Google ranks the quality of web pages using PageRank, new services such as Klout, PeerIndex, and Traackr are developing a human algorithm that could best be described as PeopleRank. Whether you like or not, we live in a social hierarchy where your every move is indexed and calculated into a score that represents your stature in a digital society. Complain all you want, but the truth is that your place within a social class system is already separated into a divide of Have and Have Not. For those who are among the digital elite, they are sought after by brands and other personalities to reward them for their social mastery. They become the new @CharlieSheen. They’re winners! And, as we see with new media talent agencies such as (the company that helped Charlie move to Twitter), celebs such as Kim Kardashian, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Paris Hilton, as well as the new era of web celebs and the Internet Famous are cashing in on their new media fame. Twitter is the new vehicle for celebrity endorsements and as a result, Tweets are worth money and brands are lining up to sponsor them. Here’s the crazy part, they’re working and followers seem to love them.

But the opportunities you earn in the social web are just as important as the opportunities you will never see.

Our avatars carry a number, a value. To the outside world, that is our credit score. It is our net worth and it is a representation of our level of influence or lack thereof. But what the hell is influence anyway and why did I not have an opportunity to opt out of any of this?

Let me ask you something, if you had the option, would you opt out? Would you remove yourself from these systems scoring your social persona?

At this very moment, influence is harboring feelings of either recognition or resentment. It is what it is. So the question is, what are you going to do about it? Will it inspire you to push back or does it evoke aspiration and focus to change how you engage in social networks to improve your score.

See you on Saturday at SXSW to explore this important subject.

p.s. It’s now a tradition. Three years in a row, three book debuts at SXSW. During the session, we’ll also take a moment to talk about the release of my latest book Engage! Revised and Updated.


Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook

If you’re looking for a way to FIND answers in social media, consider the new Engage!: It will help

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42 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Welcome to the EGOsystem: How Much Are You Worth?”

  1. Hopefully people view me as the answer to their question and a person who care..that’s worthy enough.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  2. More good stuff Brian. I probably mentioned my Klout score going down significantly about a month ago to just about everyone I know, it was worrying me a lot. What had I done? I was still me, right? I just adjusted some connections and spent a whole day without Tweeting, I was with clients, explaining the virtues of Social Media. (A certain amount of irony there) Despite the drop, I’m still alive and actually busier than ever. Tweets Tweeted and Facebook buddies still don’t quite equate to reality and luckily, most people won’t hire you as a marketer based on your Klout score. (not yet anyway) Many clients are still learning the basics of Social Media marketing and don’t even know what a Klout score is all about. So right now Klout scores do not completely define us. On that very subject, does it make sense to equate professional marketers with Justin Beiber and Charlie Sheen? That’s hard to tell, Social Media is eclectic on all levels to start with, we can’t avoid the Social Media mix, can we? You talk of inspiration and if Klout scores push us to achieve, maybe on some levels, even if we don’t admit it! Social Media itself inspires me and Klout and Peerindex just represents a small part of what’s happening (now anyway). Should I worry about my Klout score? Of course not! Do I worry about it? Sure I do!
    Congratulations on your forthcoming venture Brian and good luck!

    • Gail Gardner says:

      Klout is particularly sensitive to drops in activity or pro-actively increasing followers. They also recently changed their algorithm which lowered scores pretty much across the board. You can see the date they made that change by pointing to the date your score dropped in your timeline on their site.

      These types of measurements ARE useful because they will allow those who wish to get their message out to know who might be able to assist them. They could have a DARK SIDE though if they are eventually used to identify and target influencers to decrease their influence.

      There is a battle being raged right now that will decide what Internet users see and do not see online. Influence through blogging and Social Media are the tools influencers can use to create a better world IF they know how to be effective and IF a grassroots movement to maintain connection with Internet users even if our blogs and small business sites are dropped from Big G’s search as they are actively moving to do.

      The best thing we can all do is encourage everyone we know and all our readers to use INDEPENDENT (i.e., not Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Bing, etc.) search engines and solutions. Remember that the pen (and now the keyboard) is mightier than the sword.

    • Dave Doolin says:

      Gail, one of the reasons I’m spending a lot of face time with people, there’s no Google in the way! Don’t get me wrong, though, Google is still one of the good guys in my book. But I do believe that small timers and independents will become less and less visible. They simply don’t have the mojo to keep up with the system.

    • Think Different says:

      “Plus one” or whatever for INDEPENDENT search engines. 🙂 More attention needs to be given to sites like Duck Duck Go, IxQuick/Start Page, Blekko, and Scroogle. A big problem with individual-based marketing is this creepy tactic called behaviorally targeted advertising. DDG et. al. have a mission NOT to clutter their search results with $pam OR to put ads on the page focused to what the person is searching for. This is one of the things that Facebook, etc. should be absolutely prohibited from doing: using its consumers/users as commodities and making billions of $ off the backs of EVERY FABRIC of their/our personal lives. (I put the slash in there between “their” and “our” because I personally refuse to use Facebook, Twitter, or their ilk.)

      There’s a tragic irony, though, in that one of the most “productive” ways to promote the indie searchers is by promoting them on the majority of the internet, which, of course, is indexed by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL, or by “sharing” on the major social sites like Facebook or Twitter. All of which, however, might run afoul of the big-brother monoliths’ algorithms as (shocker!) competition that, unlike Google, ISN’T evil. 😉

  3. tdhurst says:

    Klout and others don’t work well for people who were already celebrities BEFORE they joined Twitter. Numbers are inflated because they’re popular, not influential or even useful.

    • Think Different says:

      Right, it’s not only quantity over quantity, it’s a question of whether notability has a higher “score” than notoriety.

      Charlie Sheen was already 1) Martin Sheen’s son; 2) a John Hughes/Brat Pack star in the ’80s and 3) an infamous “bad boy” and headline-addicted attention-seeker years before there was even Y2K in the media. Paris Hilton wouldn’t be anyone if Sheen et. al. weren’t in her granddad’s hotels with assorted Hollywood hookers. The Kardashians wouldn’t be anyone if their late father didn’t work to get O.J. acquitted — meaning they’d be nobody without O.J. (another shining example of notoriety > notability in the headlines). Or if their mother wasn’t now married to an ex-Olympian.

      I wonder if there’s a way to measure retroactively how the non-existent social Internet would’ve reacted to the Heidi Fleiss fiasco — #winningpartdeux — and the O.J. trial. Kato Kaelin might’ve emerged as quite the brand management expert for #mcdonalds, and I could definitely see Facebook’s thumbs-up logo being modified to look like O.J.’s (in)famous #isotoner. 🙂

  4. Heidigro says:

    very interesting Brian- I was just thinking about all of this yesterday as I got my Klout score emailed to me… the question “what kind of influence do you offer?” also has to be posed as it can be productive or destructive.

    Also… people have always used their clout and influence to their advantage .. think Anne Boylen and her family or (dare I point to) the Bush family? Have a blast at SXSW – and big congratulations again on joining Altimeter! — Heidi

  5. ZuDfunck says:

    What’s an Ego?

  6. One of the best results of a season of leadership can be a quiet life.

  7. Dave Doolin says:

    Since you asked, Brian, I’ll tell you my story.

    Right now, at this very moment, I have opted out.

    Opted out of active participation, that is.

    Engineer that I am, I divide the world into people who talk about stuff, and people who make stuff. Neither is better than the other; in a perfect, fair, just world, this should be a symbiotic relationship between the two. (And I have high hopes that social media will push the world in this direction.) At the moment, I’ve opted to be someone who makes stuff.

    While I’m making stuff, my participation is passive. I write a blog post. I do not promote it. 5-10 people will tweet it out… 5-10 people who have actually *read* what I wrote. This is enough for me at the moment. I’m busy doing other things.

    Passive social media participation in favor of spending time on other projects is not at all the same as “quitting.” I haven’t shut down any accounts, I haven’t announced my imminent departure from blogging or social media or Facebook or whatever.

    But there’s more.

    I have a “social budget.” That is, the time I’m willing to spend being social versus time I’m spending in pure creation. That social budget includes spending time with people face to face as well as spending time using social media. Checking out of social media with it’s breadth-first emphasis in favor of checking in with face time for depth-first emphasis.

    And I have been spending a lot of time building (and rebuilding) personal connection. Seriously, there’s is no digital experience which can compare to being stuffed into the cab of a moving van barreling downhill and wondering if the brakes on this beast are any good. (Coming down Malta on to O’Shaughnessy if you know the Glen Canyon area.)

    All of this technology with it’s associated subculture is still very, very young. Sometimes months old instead of years old. I firmly believe (however wrongly it might be) that over time, social media culture will accept, if not embrace, extended leaves of absence.

    I don’t have quantitative proof of this, but I can say I get pinged from time to time (e.g., this evening) from people I know from twitter, etc asking where I’ve been, whence I thank them for asking and reassure them I’ll be back soon enough.

    The whole of society is not digital, and I’m comfortable being relatively “kloutless” when I have solid non-digital relationships with people I admire, respect and trust.

    And, as our esteemed Governator might say: “I’ll be back.”

    I’m glad this comment is on Disqus because I’m going to raid for a blog post later.

  8. Johanna says:

    While I welcome the concept of measuring influence – I don’t think we’re there yet. Charlie Sheen, Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian are your examples of winners? Unless your brand fits with celebrity obsessions their influence is worthless. How many people actually respect them? If we continue to use them as prime examples in influence we will struggle to convince the cynical of the power of social media.

  9. Robyn says:

    Interesting post. As usual, you have interesting insight into a developing situation. I hope you are not saying, however, that in the future a social “score” will be used as a standard for hiring a marketing professional. I’m like Dave—I have a busy life outside of my full-time job. I enjoy connecting with friends through social media but I’m not obsessed with connections; my preference is to make a difference in someone’s life every day by working personally with them. I’ll take a hug and a personal visit over an electronic connection any day of the week!

    Congratulations on your new job and your new book! I enjoyed Engage! and look forward to reading the next publication.

  10. ksren says:

    What are peoples thoughts on facebook tho??? ———->

  11. Mari Smith says:

    Hey Brian – awesome, thought-provoking content, as always!!

    I’m not a big fan of being obsessed with all these scores, points, leaderboards, popularity contests, etc. I think the danger comes when individuals get their self-worth from such systems. As several commenters have indicated here, there are other more tangible, real-life ways to measure success… and worth.

    I do think the “egosystem” is situational/contextual – for some brands and advertisers, scores have more meaning.

    Would I opt out? No, not too likely because all my peers are being scored too and there’s no real reason to choose to be absent from these systems. Sure, I keep a semi-eye on my various scores, but I would never define myself by them nor garner my worth in any form from them. Let’s say something happened that suddenly caused all my scores to plummet to zero. For instance, say it was mandatory to tweet certain content (against my personal values) in order to get scored and I don’t play the game. Would zero scores affect my business? Not one bit.

    Sure, big scores might make a difference for the Hollywood celebs and web celebs – but they inherently already have big scores. If Charlie Sheen had been on Twitter since 2006 and had 10M followers, would there have been such a big fuss made and people tripping over themselves to cash in? I doubt it.

    For the everyday business person online, I say just get out there and do good. Focus on heart-centered engaging in social networks, and the scores – if they even matter – take care of themselves.

  12. Klaudia says:

    What we will do about that? I think that most of us will ‘go with the flow’ and as long that flow is earn as many of those ‘points in the rank’ as possible – we will do that. Most of the time there is a race: faster, better, etc.

  13. Warren Daly says:

    The Revolution of the ‘Micro’ Celebrity…like all Celebrity, the question of Ego pertains to whether one is using it for selfish reasons or for a better world 🙂 Yes there are opportunities to monetize ones fame..but at what cost??

    In Terms of the Social Media Eco-System, I think the important thing is to realize is ‘Who’ We need to connect with most and ‘Why’, and develop strategies to focus those efforts effectively. Our Cause to gain influence should not be for the effect of self gratification, but rather to find our calling and realize our unique gifts to give back and provide value to the world. From Here we can find what we are worth to others, and more importantly, who most needs our help.

    Lastly, I truly believe there is no place for resentment in an Economy of Relationships, and we must always be looking to help one another where possible. Brian and Mari, you have both found great voices in Social Media and are an inspiration for those of us looking to do the same. It is because of Leaders like you that we can all look to realize our dreams with the Evolution of Media in the Social Economy.

    Respect People, Stand for Something, Engage, Do You!!! 🙂

    Thank You for your Genius Brian, and Hi Mari! 🙂


  14. Ginny Cooper says:

    Well let’s see, Brian you’ve been on Twitter for how long? And your Klout score a moment ago was a 79. @bronxzooscobra started tweeting less than 2 weeks ago and he/she/it has a 73. I only have a 33, so I guess that means I am so low that I have to crawl up on a dime to kiss a snake’s belly. 😉

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  16. Think Different says:

    I came to this article via a link on Forbes Online. I have to say that I don’t like the term “egosystem,” as it seems to have a connotation of narcissism. Even the definition given: “Rather than a social ecosystem, it is quite literally an egosystem where
    the entire experience revolves around you. You are at the center of

    This certainly describes Charlie Sheen, Paris Hilton, Alec Baldwin and all of the Kardashians to a T. In terms of being known specifically for one’s Internet presence, however, Paris and the K-cups might be a better example than Sheen and Baldwin, both already established as movie/TV stars and also members of Hollywood families. Justin Bieber is a different story, but unless you’re in the fifth grade (and educated at about a second-grade level), could one really argue that Beeb the dweeb is really bringing anything of merit to the table? Sure, he may have a bazillion Twitter followers/Facebook fans/Klout score of infinity, but shouldn’t real professionals try to emphasize quality over quantity?

    I don’t think businesses (especially in this day and age where the #occupy movement is demonstrating how major companies DON’T care about people at all) should continue on with the old standards of hiding behind cold steel walls, indistinguishable cubicle setups, and uniform Brooks Brothers suits, bandying about buzzwords like most people do indefinite articles and emphasizing assembly-line facelessness over individuality and creativity. But while the concept of a personally-designed, individually-customized “egosystem” certainly does have a positive underlying description, of the consumer/client/peer being acknowledged as more of a person than a number at the deli counter, I think that on the surface it seems to hint at a certain degree of unhealthy narcissism, putting oneself above others and shouting look-at-me.

    I think a far better example for the good notion of an “egosystem” would be someone like the late Steve Jobs. Certainly Apple was a cult of personality, but Jobs had far more than the consumer in mind: he also had a mission, an ideology of 1960s nonconformism and breaking apart from the cold grips of “Big Brother” as was horribly exemplified during Nixon-era Vietnam. Paris and Kim don’t sell their perfumes with their buyers in mind. Charlie Sheen’s disastrous stand-up tour wasn’t a motivational speech. It was all about the individuals rather than the audience.

    In short, Jobs got high on the “experience” of providing a service and cultivating his business. Charlie Sheen, as he readily admitted, is high on… Charlie Sheen.

  17. Renon says:

    Non-sense these PeopleRank indexes. I was one of the first Internet
    users (1994), was one of the first mobile phone users but do not use
    facebook to compete with others about who has the most friends and
    likes. I use twitter almost not. I certainly will have a low PeopleRank
    index. So what? A lot of people use these services (even during work
    time) and lose a lot of time with it. Are they more socialized when they
    collect friends and likes and speak about a lot of useless stuff as
    their family, friends and children? Why do we have to index everything?

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