I have no doubt that Mathew Ingram is a solid businss reporter, but his piece today about Klout being a measure of trust and reputation is an indicator of just how little he knows about trust and reputation AND, what a bad job the public relations industry has done in educating the media on the topic. His basic premise is
"This reputation-based economy requires some kind of measurement system, and possibly many competing systems, just as the traditional media market needs Nielsen and comScore....
Someone is going to do it, though, because the social Web needs it to function properly. As users, the most we can hope for is that the process is relatively obvious and that we get some benefit from allowing ourselves to be tracked."
Never mind that Nielsen and comScore never measured reputation or trust, but rather estimated the "reach" of an advertising mesage, the fundamental misunderstanding here is what consistutes reputation.
Mathew, for your information, repuation and trust have nothing to do with Klout/Kred or Peerindex. Trust and reputation exist in the minds of your customers, your employees, your stakeholders and your marketplace. These concepts are measured by how people perceive your accumulated actions towards them and their community -- be that community a physical one, or a professional or personal one. Get that. It's PERCEPTIONS, not whether there is an electronic indicator that someone has "followed you" or "liked" you. Half of those follows and likes are electronically generated bots. The rest of them are fleeting moments of "oh, I agree with this" or "this is interesting" -- neither of those actions have anything to do with trust or reputation.
I find it hard to believe that anyone that is writing for Bloomberg/Business week isn't unaware that the measurement of reputation and trust is something that corporations have been doing for years and that measures of trust have been around for years. Whether its via bespoke surveys or Edelman's Trust barometer or a survey like the Reputation Institute's reputation score, there are a lot more reliable ways available to measure reputation than the electronic equivalent of a wink.
What I think you mean, and please correct me if you're wrong, is that people need a social media equivalent of a GRP or "Impressions" which, back in the last century, served as an indicator of how many potential "eyeballs" saw an ad. I would argue that you are suggesting you are calling for the media equivalent of an hour glass to measure a lightwave.
Today's environment is far more dependent on the personal networks and REAL definitions of trust than simple reach. Organizations like Procter & Gamble & Coca Cola have already realized this, and are working on results-based metrics, not made up "influence" scores.