London: A social media index has claimed that teen sensation Justin Bieber is more influential online than either the Dalai Lama or US President Barack Obama.
San Francisco-based social networking index Klout, created by tech entrepreneur Joe Fernandez, is being described by its creators as "the standard for online and Internet influence".
It uses complex algorithms to add up a person’s tweets, likes, pings, LinkedIn connections, Google mentions, status updates and other social media musings to gauge much influence a person has online and, by inference, whether they are worth listening to.
Bieber tops with a score of 100, 10 spots ahead of Barack Obama at 88, who also trails the Dalai Lama (90) and Lady Gaga (89).
"Every lobbyist in Washington is coming to us for data. They want to know who is driving opinion," the Guardian quoted Fernandez as saying.
However, not everyone is impressed by Klout.
Trey Pennington, a social media consultant, says Klout is "snake oil". Pennington challenges the site``s numbers and the transparency of the way they are collated.
"That``s not to say there isn``t value in what he``s doing. Companies want a simple quick, third-party source to tell them who to listen to,” he said.
"What Klout has done – faster than anyone else – is put a number to that. It may not be the right number, but having a number at all is very useful,” argues Sree Sreenivasan, digital media professor at Columbia University.