The arbiters of the new social hierarchy have names like Klout, PeerIndex and Twitalyzer. Each company essentially works the same way: They feed public data, mostly from Twitter, but also from sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, into secret formulas and then generate scores that gauge users' influence. Think of it as the credit score of friendship or, as PeerIndex calls it, "the S&P of social relationships."
This is another article that's going to get passed around via email today by well-intentioned folks trying to figure out how to automate "influencers".
Beware the social media gurus talking about "influence" and "influencers". It's voodoo right now.