How Blogging Can Get You an Invitation

by Isabel Braverman

It’s nothing new to point out that high-profile bloggers and other social media users score invites and free stuff to and from some pretty swanky places. Fashion bloggers receive front row invitations to runway shows and boxes of clothing from the designers. The pitch being, of course, that just the mere sighting of these celebrity bloggers in the designer’s show or garb will give them media attention. But how do these designers and the likes know which bloggers to chose? If only there was a company that tallied the data and gave each blogger a score; kind of like professional athlete’s stats. Well now there is.

The company is called Klout,a website that generates social media user’s scores on a scale from 1 to 100. They determine the score based on True Reach (size of audience), Amplification Probability (likelihood of retweets, likes, etc.) and Network Score (number of clicks, comments and retweets). Klout measures the scores from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursqaure and YouTube.

What’s interesting is Klout is starting to show a lot of clout. A recent New York Time’s article talks about industry insider events that use Klout to determine their invite list or even their VIP section. The author, Beth Landman, writes that “status has long been based on appearance, accomplishment and notoriety, but social media reach is becoming a new criterion.” Now, even if you are a high-paid model or Society girl, you may be waiting at the door while the blogger with a Klout score of 70 steps in front of you.

It brings to mind the question—how important is social media, really? Does the Klout score take into consideration the difference between a blogger posting pictures of herself in Paris and the journalistic work of independent bloggers? There needs to be a line drawn between the two.

Klout seems to be doing that, at least in the fashion world. Someone quoted in the NYT article talks about that difference. “Just because people throw up blogs in their spare time to express how they feel about neon colors this season does not mean they deserve to sit at a show that costs a hundred thousand dollars to produce,” said Alison Brod, whose firm represents fashion and beauty clients. “Klout helps us sift through the hordes of bloggers.”

Just like designers giving away free stuff, event producers are now using Klout as a means to promote their events. If they invite someone with a high Klout score, they expect them to Tweet or blog about it, thus generating more hits for their event or promotion. It scares me that blogs, which started out independent, could be (or already are) headed in the same direction as mainstream media—completely persuaded by advertising. They may enjoy the perks now, but  how will they feel when they become the guinea pig for a brand. There’s no such thing as a free lunch.