The U.S. Capitol building. (Mark Wilson)

What’s your Klout score?

Klout CEO and cofounder Joe Fernandez looks forward to the day when everyone is regularly asking and answering that question. Klout started in New York City when Fernandez took to Twitter in order to communicate with family and friends after having his jaw temporarily wired shut. The company migrated to San Francisco, and has begun to play a unique and evolving role in the social media landscape. Klout rates users’ influence in social media using an algorithm that incorporates activity on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram,, Flickr, Blogger and, as of Tuesday, Google+, among other networks.

We sat down with Fernandez on a hotel terrace in Menlo Park Wednesday to not only discuss Klout, but to find out from the creator of a system that rates influence, where Washington D.C. — a city of lawmakers and lobbyists — would fall on the 1-to-100 rating system.

“I think it would be extremely high,” said Fernandez, whose staff includes engineers who work day in and day out to tweak the algorithm so that users’ scores most accurately reflect the influence they generate through social media use. “The three topics we find people talk and engage the most about on social media are entertainment, technology and politics.”

“New York, L.A., San Francisco and D.C. would be the four cities, if you did the cumulative Klout of the people in the cities and the conversations around them. It would be some order that shifts, like, when it’s the Grammys, L.A,. pops up,” said Fernandez, “So, definitely very high.”

Pressed for a number, Fernandez didn’t hold back. “It’s really, really hard for a normal person — somebody whose job isn’t to create social media content — to get a score above 70. To get above 85, it is the Lady Gagas the Barack Obamas — those types of people. There are only four or five accounts in the 90s — that’s like Justin Bieber. I would say D.C. would be a 91 or it would be in the 90s.” It’s worth noting that, as of the writing of this piece, Lady Gaga’s Klout score was 91, while Justin Bieber’s was 98. Meanwhile, President Obama’s Klout score was at 87, with the White House Twitter account coming in at 80.

Ideas@Innovations is teaming up with On Leadership to speak with some of Silicon Valley’s established and up-and-coming leaders to shed some light on what it means to create, lead and inspire in one of the nation’s most vibrant and innovative regions. This is the first piece in this series.

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