Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Klout: How "Influential" Are You, Doctor?

I stumbled across Klout.com recently, thanks to an tweet by the well-respected web strategist and industry analyst at the Altimeter Group, Jeremiah Owyang. Needless to say, it's not a place doctors venture much.

But I found the site, and it's potential to characterize physician's on-line influence, interesting.

It works by giving people on Twitter and Facebook a "score", influenced by the lists that people are on, the number of original "tweets," number of times things are re-tweeted by others, and so on and then uses the metrics to classify the type and influence of the individual using social media. I suppose an analogy might be that its like looking at a bunch of personality tests to understand the type of person you're following.

So I looked into the scores and characteristics of a few physician bloggers. The results were interesting.

Yours truly gave a meager "Klout score" of 48 at the time of this writing and was classified as a "Specialist."

Kevin Pho, MD is a "Thought Leader" with a score of 69.

Grunt Doc, an ER doctor and long-time blogger is a "Thought Leader", too, but has a score of 38.

Doctor Anonymous is an "Explorer" with a Klout score of 50.

Ramona Bates, MD - a plastic surgeon - is a "Specialist" too with a score of 54.

Happy Hospitalist has a Klout Score of 24, but is considered a Thought Leader, too.

(You can check your "score" and inflence type with a twitter account and then enter it here.)
By the way, I have no commercial relationship with this website, but I found the concept intriguing for doctors as we enter the new internet age of social media. Certainly this is not the only site that purports to measure the influence of someone on social media (see Peerindex, for instance), but it was interesting to see it's accuracy in determining these few individual's influence on the internet based on their content tweeted.

While Mr. Owyang does a nice job explaining the limitations of these metric websites (especially as it relates to lack of a "Sentiment Index"), but I must say that from my cursory look at the few fellow physicians I queried, it classified some of these more prolific bloggers and twitter users that I know pretty well.

Looking forward, it would not be unrealistic to think that some day a new variant of the Klout website might just serve as another form of doctor rating website. If so, the benefit of developing an valued online social media "physician brand" now might pay professional dividends later.



Anonymous said...

Well, at least I'm not last. I think.


shadowfax said...

Hey, that's cool. I like that way of looking at things.

I was 52 and a specialist. I can live with that, though I feel icky being associated with the term specialist. Someone might think I was putting on airs. Specialists are fancypants doctors like, I dunno, electronphysicologists....

rlbates said...

Not sure what it all means. I think of you and Gruntdoc as much more influential than I am. :)

Dennis said...

Yeah... but is the doc any good at his job?

The Happy Hospitalist said...

Do you get points for being under the influence?

MtnMD said...

Yes, mine was 59 and a specialist, but I wondered if all physicians would be called a specialist because we have a core topic?

This is quite interesting. It lends physicians a voice in educating patients, regulators and others interested in specific health topics. It also provides a unique opportunity for increasing the two way dialog.

Thanks, Dr Wes!!

MtnMD said...

In watching the incredible speed at which technology is changing the face of the world, Klout, along with associated sites, could be a tool for patients and doctors to likewise regain a voice in the healthcare debate.