Clouting Klout

pschroedcom.comIf you’re in the Twitter world, you may have been enmeshed in the Klout furor the other day, with its claims for a more accurate, transparent score with yet another refined algorithm. This more accurate, transparent score caused a lot of people’s scores to drop 10, 20 or more points.

This resulted in a whole lot of pissed-off people: “Having recently decided to try to use Klout to understand my influence and having recently taken action to change my online behavior based on that Klout, it’s very disheartening to learn that the activities that I was being told by Klout were making me more influential now rate as activities that made me (in Klout’s eyes) less influential.”

I’ll say it now: I don’t “get” Klout.


A year or so ago, I signed up the way other people signed up: Because it sounded important, it had pretty graphs, we wanted to believe a living equation could actually measure our online footprint, we wanted to believe living equations existed in the first place, everyone else was doing it, or because a boss said so. I signed up the corporate account and my personal account. Why not, right? You get a Klout score even if you don’t sign up with them, so you might as well see what you can do to control it.

I now count myself fortunate that my livelihood does not depend on a figure from a third-party company. I’ve heard horror stories of people’s jobs in jeopardy because one of their goals depending on that metric, and of employers who look at someone’s personal Klout score as evidence of their social media expertise for a social media job: “Expecting prospective clients to know how to hire someone based on their future delivery of results is not realistic. A score like Klout gives busy people a simple litmus test in advance.” (I have to ask, pre-Klout, what did employers do? Make up their own minds? I wasn’t hired based on my score!)

I used to give Klout more weight in the past when it was new and shiny to me, but even before this latest tweak, I’ve been experiencing that fatal ennui. I got busy. I’m still busy. Busy doing all the stuff Klout wants me to do to make up its score: Communicating, engaging, reaching out and in our case, bringing traffic back in to the mothership, the website.

This left me little time to check in on Klout. I wasn’t doing much more than glancing at it, making sure it still reflected my steady social-media-influence climb, when I’d click on my Twitter account on Hootsuite.

Until the score plummeted, that is. THAT got my attention.

Today, my score has rallied within a couple points of what it has been for much of this year. Yes, I like that better, but can I believe it? I remember how originally your score was influenced by how often you logged into klout.com. I remember being glad when Klout made your score “automatic” whether you logged in or not. What’s really going in to these “influences”?

Resources:

Do read The matter with metrics and A Klout Upside the Head, because they’re not only extremely well-written, they explain things in ways that make even me “get” Klout!

If you need more reassurance, try Clout is a noun, not a goal, which emphasizing receiving over giving.

Is Klout Using Our Family to Violate Our Privacy? brings a more sinister twist to the mix.

Sick of Klout but still need to measure your influence? Try Peerindex to “understand your online social capital”–if you can believe that!

Pic found here.

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