Wikipedia describes Klout as “an analytics tool that measures a users influence across their social network.” Klout describes Klout as the “Standard of Influence” and an algorithm of at least 35 variables using data points such as:
- Twitter Followings
- List memberships
- How many spam and dead accounts are following you
- How often you engage with other influencers
- How influential are the people you engage with
- How influential are the people who re-tweet you
- Unique mentions
This information is blended with Facebook and LinkedIn data such as Comments, Likes, and the number of friends in your network to come up with your Klout Score. In addition, Klout measures: True Reach, Amplification and Network Influence.
Klout has kept a good pace for innovations. They have an extension for brands called Klout Perks that offers advocates special deals for their promotion and engagement with others on their favorite brands. Goggle Chrome has an extension that shows you a person’s Klout score next to their tweets. In June, Klout rolled out +K so you can declare your support for someone who has influenced you on a particular topic.
But the pivotal factor to building a Klout Score is how often you engage with other influencers and how often they engage with you. Does Klout help improve our influence or prove the adage: It’s not what you know but who you know?
I’ll let you decide. Here are 12 ways Klout help us influence; 7 ways it encourages us to manipulate.
12 WAYS KLOUT HELPS US INFLUENCE
- Every one of us gets involved in social media to some degree to improve our influence through social engagement
- Klout is the most ambitious undertaking to date of such a large analysis of data across multiple social networks
- Klout shortens the time and effort it takes to find influencers and experts in a certain area
- +K shows up to ten areas where a person is considered an expert, how much of one and by who
- Klout offers a personality profile (e.g. explorer, conversationalist, networker, specialist) so you’re not just a number
- People like to do business with people they know
- Klout’s engagement algorithm for “influence” is similar to Google’s use of links to establish “authority,” the standard of influence for search
- Klout add more variables to its algorithm to continually improve its influence precision
- Klout’s extensions give new perspectives on influence
- Klout lets us know if our influence is improving or slipping
- Klout is similar in some respects to a “Q Score” which has been used for decades to measure celebrities’ influence and popularity; now, there is a metric for regular people
- The Klout standard for influence is the same politicians use to get elected or all of us use to advance our careers and business
7 WAYS IT ENCOURAGE US TO MANIPULATE
- A “score” inherently prejudices our opinion of a person’s value
- The Chrome extension with a score next to a tweet makes Twitter work like a social register, not a social network
- The Chrome extension creates a bias to engage with others by their Kouth Score, not the content of their tweet
- The more Klout extensions used; the greater the liklihood to increase a Klout Score
- The more information supplied, the likelier it is to improve a Klout Score. My score went up +6 points when I added my LinkedIn profile
- By spending time on Twitter Chats and engaging, the likelihood of improving a Klout Score increases
- One could conclude by the comparison to politics and the corporate ladder that any increase in influence is also accompanied with a little manipulation
I admire any company that tries to make sense and draw insights out of a mountain of data. But with any product or service where the end result is a number, there will also be ways to work the system.
What do you think? Does Klout help us influence or encourage us to manipulate? Would you add any other reasons to these lists?