I have Klout

You know, I learn a lot about people based on their judgement of “hype”. Klout is one of these social media hype tools. People either like to qualify it or disqualify it as they see fit. The fact is, there is no magic number that tell you how influential someone is. This is not a problem with the tools, after all they are just an algorithm – scraping platforms like Twitter & Facebook for the number of times your content is acted upon. In short, Klout is almost like a popularity contest: some people just get it, and others have to try really hard.

I recently read this article explaining why Klout scores are bull – and while he makes some valid points, I disagree with some of his arguments.

His points were that Klout is a number that marketers can use to impress people – and that the Klout score is not a real measure of someones influence. Someone can manipulate their score and have no influence in the “real world“. I do agree with his point that Klout is really only for Twitter (especially since you can’t sync up your score with a page, rather, only with a personal Facebook account). It also is a little bit of an ego/Twitter self-importance thing, no one can argue that.

Now, while this can be true in some instances, there are also reasons why Klout can be extremely valuable. I don’t necessarily think “influence” is the right word, rather – it shows how active you are & how likely you are to generate conversations and put out sharable content.

Let’s go over what is of value here:

  • Network Influence: It is important to build a valuable community of like-minded people on Twitter. I think this is important because you should know who your followers are, and what value they can bring to you (& vice versa). The details are also important here: Unique mentioners & unique retweeters. These numbers show the “sharability” of content & also serves as a measurement of conversation.
  •  True Reach: I find this number extremely important. It lets you know how many of your followers actually remember that they follow you (or, subsequently are robots). The higher this number, the better.
  • Topics: With the introduction of +K (a human influence product), Klout has improved it’s topic influence tool by leaps & bounds. I will admit their algorithm was a bit off previously, because it just grabbed the most used words of the most retweeted tweets (tongue tied, anyone?). By adding an element of having people contribute – they have really improved the accuracy.
  • Klout Style: I think that the matrix they have created for “style” is in most cases very accurate, and valuable. Knowing where you stand in this matrix allows you to adjust the content that you post. For example; I am a “specialist”. Klout describes this as: “You may not be a celebrity, but within your area of expertise your opinion is second to none. Your content is likely focused around a specific topic or industry with a focused, highly-engaged audience”. I like to think this is true as my ‘community’ on Twitter is all focused around Social Media, Marketing, and Tech/mobile and this is the subject of almost everything I post.

While I am categorized as a specialist, key-note speakers/authors/all around cool people such as Scott Stratten (who is influential about unicorns – he uses that word a lot) & Guy Kawasaki  are “curators” – True. Scott has a Klout score of 81 and Guy has a score of 85.

Tech blogs/publishers/superheroes such as Mashable & TechCrunch are qualified as “celebrities”. This makes sense since they publish, but rarely acknowledge the little people. Mashable’s Klout score is an 88 and TechCrunch has a score of 85.

Now notice that the above mentioned “influencers” all have Klout scores that are similar in numbers, but they qualify under different quadrants in the Klout matrix. This is because while they may generate equal numbers of RT’s, @ mentions, etc. they publish very different content & are very different entities on Twitter. This is valuable to observe.

Overall, Klout can be kind of innacurate iffy at times. But any mathematical algorithm tasked at identifying human behaviors will never be 100% correct. And while it can be gamed (RT contests and the like) like any other form of measurement – there is truly some value for individuals and brands alike to pay attention.

Maybe you’re influential in “real-life” – you get free samples in the mail. However, us Twitter influencers, we get Klout perks and have slightly bloated social egos.



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