April 17, 2012
/ by Sukhraj Beasla
When I first heard about Klout, I’ll admit that I was pretty stoked (still sort of am). Oh who I am kidding. I check my score about as often as I check my tweet stream. Hootsuite makes that so damn convenient. I just can’t help myself and I get bummed if it drops. But why? What does Klout really tell me?
Since 2008, Klout has been measuring the influence of users across various social media networking sites. They started with Twitter and Facebook and have now branched out to almost every major social networking site and adding new ones as their popularity grows. The score ranges from 1-100 and measures your ability to drive actions. For example, how many likes you get on a Facebook post, how many retweets on Twitter, or +1’s on Google+. Based on these metrics, Klout awards their user base with specific perks that are targeted to the subject matter of your social content. These perks include anything from free T-shirts, blankets, or even as luxury as being able to drive an Audi to Vegas.
Even though there are other social network measuring sites like Kred and Peer Index, Klout seems to be top of mind when it comes to social influence online. I’m almost starting to think it’s a little too much nowadays. To get a job at social media companies, some applications ask for your Klout score and then the one the really irked me was the Klout dating site, Tawkify. I’m all about love online. It works for some people but love via your Klout score? Hmm. According to co-creator E. Jean Carroll “People with high Klout scores know how to listen and know how to react; they’re cute, smart and connected.” I’m not so sure about that. I know several people with high Klout scores and they’re not cute, smart, or connected. Nor do they know how to listen or react. They just know how to post great content or game the Klout system. And therein lies the rub. How influential is Klout really? Does the high score really mean anything or is it just a number?
Let’s look at the positive first. If used correctly, Klout can give you a lot of data about the time spent on your networks and if you use it wisely. Since it measures your true reach, you can see if you’re really making an effort or spreading pure nonsense. I use Klout for those kinds of tools. I want to know that I’m making a difference on the web and possibly being funny and random at the same time. Klout also lists the topics that you’re influential about. If you don’t agree, you can simply delete them from your individualized personality profile and try to focus on not talking about them so much. You can also reward users with +K’s if you feel they are influential about a specific topic in order to improve their ranking on Klout. +Ks build good Klout karma.
The downside is the gaming aspect. It’s far too easy for anyone to set up an automatic feed via Buffer, Timely etc. and automate content without actually engaging with anyone online and generate a high score. Which is where I question the logic of Klout and their algorithm. There should be a way to track all that but I can’t imagine that being possible. While I value Klout, the perks, and people who run it; the system isn’t quite perfect. I throw a mild tantrum when my score drops even though I tweet, Facebook etc consistently. I have no idea who might be watching my score and wondering if I’m credible. Is someone not going to hire or date me if I lose a few points? The pressure is too much and it really shouldn’t be. Your Klout shouldn’t be everything. It should just be a fun tool to measure your data and time spent online with some fun bonuses thrown in. That’s all.
What do you think of Klout? Have you been hired because of your score? Do you think your score accurately reflects your activity online?
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