Online influence: How does your agency rate?

Federal CIO Vivk Kundra will leave a hefty federal IT reform legacy when he departs next month. But his score on a new measure of online clout suggests his influence was more modest in the social media arena.

An analysis by the Klout.com website on July 6 gave Kundra a respectable mid-range score of 49 for his influence on Twitter and Facebook. The Klout Score, which ranges from 1 to 100, is a measure of the ability to reach online fans, followers and beyond, with retweets and “like” messages. A higher score indicates greater influence.

By comparison, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood scored 61 on Klout.com’s index of online influence and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate scored 58.


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At the White House, staffers Jay Carney (65), Dan Pfeiffer (62), Jesse Lee (58), and Macon Phillips (55) all received higher scores from Klout.com for their online stature than did Kundra, with the top score going to President Barack Obama at 85.

The White House got a Klout Score of 78 while the Office of Science andTechnology Policy received a 61.

The Klout Score is the measurement of your overall online influence,” company officials said in a statement. “The scores range from 1 to 100 with higher scores representing a wider and stronger sphere of influence. Klout uses over 35 variables on Facebook and Twitter to measure true reach, amplification probability and network score.” True reach reflects the size of the engaged audience, minus inactive users, while the network score gives weight to more active users who are more likely to like and retweet content, the company said.

The Klout.com influence rating system is based on users providing access to their Facebook or Twitter accounts, or both. Users who provide access to only one of those accounts appear to be rated only by results from that account. Klout states on its website that scores developed with access to both Twitter and Facebook are a more accurate indicator. Information on what type of access was provided by each agency of official, and whether limited access might have affected their ratings, was not immediately available from Klout.

Top-scoring federal departments rated by Klout.com included State (73), Defense (68) and Energy (67); Agriculture, Education, Health and Human Services and Veterans Affairs (each 63); Justice (61), Homeland Security (60) and Interior and Commerce (each 56).

Cabinet secretaries, other than LaHood, did not fare quite as well as the departments. Their clout scores included Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, 53; Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, 49; and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, 36. The Klout.com site did not rate federal officials who do not maintain social accounts in their own names.

Other federal agencies noted for their online influence were the Smithsonian Institution (68), Federal Communications Commission (64), National Science Foundation (64), Library of Congress (61), Peace Corps (60) and National Archives (51).

The online clout scores for federal CIOs and CTOs varied, with a high score of 48 going to Todd Park, CTO at HHS. Others in that group measured on the influence scale included GSA CIO Casey Coleman (42), Social Security Administration CIO Frank Baitman (37), NASA CIO Linda Cureton (33), Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms CIO Rick Holgate (29) and Smithsonian CTO Carmen Iannacone (24). The Federal CIO Council scored a 36.

Executives at the General Services Administration were well represented on Klout.com, led by Gwynne Kostin, director of mobile for the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technology, with a score of 53. The associate administrator of that office, Dave McClure, received a 22, while Mary Davie, assistant commissioner for integrated technology services, got a 43.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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