If the cafeteria in the film Mean Girls was representative of the social media realm, on what table would you be seated?

In what has been deemed as the perfect insight into the intricacies of the typical high school caste system, Mean Girls has taken a light hearted approach to a much more serious issue of harsh social divides; the geeks sitting separate from the jocks, the spoiled princesses and their gaggle divert their eyes from the misfits, the cool Asians sit in the opposite corner from the Goths and so.

Ruthless as it may be, every group and individual has a place. They know their social rank and order.

Unfortunately these high school idiosyncrasies resonate all too closely with the reality of the Twitter realm today, with everyone encouraged to take note of their social media ranking. Suddenly how popular or influential on Twitter seems to matter.  

Unsure of where you’re currently seating in the ‘social media cafeteria’? Never fear. Now thanks to the sudden surge in analytical tools claiming to measure your social media influence, you can spend hours discovering exactly how you rank in comparison to the 4 million odd other Twitter users world wide.

Here are a few of these tools come across as of late:

  • Tweepr: lists the thoughts and observations of Australia’s 100 most followed PR specialists
  • Tweetlevel: a unique tool created by Edelman – measures an individual’s importance on Twitter
  • Klout: Twitter List engine that identifies and ranks the top 25 influencers for any topic of interest and produces a new, qualified, and ranked list as a result

Cynicism aside on what may well be perceived as an ego stroking exercise; these latest tools do have their benefits, providing one with the ability to:

  • identify who are the authoritative voices on a particular subject
  • sort individuals who demonstrate the ability to drive action
  • track opinions on a particular subject, topic or area of opinion
  •  create lists from the ranking tool to more effectively group and monitor your followers

Apart from allowing dedicated tweeters to pat themselves on the back for ranking up the top of the ladder, these tools do have the potential to benefit those within the communications industry.

There are some improvements to these tools that would be great to see in the future, for example an option to search by location. Klout provides a list of the top 25 influencers on any given subject however with no option to limit this search to a particular region or locality.

Are there any other suggestions you have that may improve the usability of these tools? Are there any other tools measuring social media influence that you have come across as of late that may be more effective than the handful listed above?