You may have heard a lot of buzz lately about a new site that supposedly measures your influence and reach on the internet. It’s called Klout.
I first heard about it from a client and dissuaded them from signing up since they needed to do it via Facebook or Twitter. (I have issues with giving all of these applications all of my friends information, my pictures…all that stuff. You may have heard me mention this a few times via Christian Work At Home Mom Radio with Jill Hart.) Shortly thereafter though, I started seeing a lot of people on my Facebook news feed who had signed up and were posting via Klout. I was intrigued to say the least. And then it happened. I saw a news article from somewhere that said a man who applied for the job and had more skills, experience and talent than the job required was suddenly turned down for the job because he wasn’t on Klout. This worried me for many reasons. I know that people can jump on bandwagons and suddenly start assigning vital importance to things that in the big picture, won’t even make a blip. I wondered if Klout was one of those.
First, let’s take a look at Klout. This is what their website says about what they do:
“People have always had the power to influence others, and that power is being democratized with new social media tools. Klout’s mission is to provide insights into everyone’s influence.
We measure your influence based on your ability to drive action in social networks. We process this data on a daily basis to give you an updated Klout Score each morning.” (http://klout.com/understand/score)
This all sounds fine and it even shows you a little bit on the site about how they measure your influence. They take into account Retweets, comments, likes, and shares from the various social media networks out there. It seems plausible. And how cool would it be to just have a number to show how influential you are! Seriously. I have to admit I think that’s pretty awesome.
But then I signed up for Klout and didn’t have a great score. I was bummed by what I saw in my numbers and I realized,
pretty quickly, that it doesn’t do what it says on the tin. It takes certain factors into account and logs those into an algorithm. But it doesn’t allow you to add multiple accounts. So the fact that I run social media for several very influential clients doesn’t count. I have clients with tens of thousands of people following them and retweeting everything they say, but unless I add those clients to Klout (and subsequently give up a little bit of their privacy in the process) then that doesn’t count. And I can’t add in the websites that I
own without giving up even more privacy in order to get those numbers added. So the fact that I own two websites that have some heavy hitters in several different industries following and retweeting us doesn’t mean anything to Klout either.
The best way to measure your influence is from your clients. Algorithims like the one that Klout uses are easy to skew and can give false readings with little effort. Your clients, on the other hand, will always tell you how they feel about your work and what you’re doing. Happy clients are far more invaluable than some score on a random website.