One of the hot trends in social media these days are the crop of sites that are claiming to measure ones social media influence.  Sites like Klout, PeerIndex, and up and comer Empire Avenue all have unique ways in which they measure your social influence based on a variety of factors.  All three attempt to apply their own home brew algorithms that factor in the size of your networks, the frequency of your participation, and how often your contributions to these networks are shared.

But the real question is do any of them really work?  Is their calculations a true measure of your social street cred?  I would say that it’s still a work in progress, but if you think these measurements don’t matter, I’m here to tell you that while they may not be exact science, they are starting to matter.

Just a few weeks ago I was contacted by by a partner in the Klout Perks program.  It seems that my Klout score qualified me to receive some free product as well as offer the same to 5 of my friends.  And a few weeks ago I was also contacted to receive free copies of multiple books from leading authors to hopefully read and share my critique.

Now the point isn’t to brag about all the free stuff I’ve gotten, but more so to point out that paying attention to how these social influence websites score you, and how to move the right levers to increase your score can open up opportunities for you.  You may not like or agree with how they make these determinations, but the fact is, their is a growing desire for such numbers, and these are the folks who are currently leading the way.

Empire Avenue is a very interesting take on the social influence rating game.  They’ve turned it into a game, and a fun one at that.  I’ve played around with their site for a few days, and as much as I hate to admit, I’m a bit hooked.  They’ve basically turned your social cred into a stock market game.  By integrating your social profiles into the site, they use this data to determine your market value, and over time, shares of you can be bought and sold impacting your share price.  It’s vain, and silly, yet somehow a guilty pleasure.  What’s more interesting to me is how this approach to social influence measurement can potentially turn into real world business applications.  That remains to be seen, but in the meantime, it’s really worth a look.  And I’m currently going for $25.85 a share, so be sure to pick up a few before the price goes up!