Klout has been a lightning rod for discussion about the promise and perils of measuring social influence. I’m not going to rehash it all here, but I think it’s fair to say that activity on social networks doesn’t measure anyone’s true influence online, much less in the world.
Still, it’s hard to resist looking at your score. That’s the “gamification” influence at work. You might not agree with how Klout calculates your score or how it’s labeled, but you still pay attention.
So what is Klout really good for, if you’re not a social media expert touting your (high) score to get clients? I’m not, so for me Klout has just been a novelty.
I’ve done some casual experiments and found that I can increase my Klout score by just being more active on Twitter. Does that make me more influential? I don’t know, and don’t really care. I invest time on Twitter mainly to promote content I like, occasionally add comments (via RTs) and engaged with others. Lots of tweets but not many true conversations.
That works for me, because I don’t think Twitter is very good for in-depth conversations anyway. And the content is too ephemeral, like text messages or chats. I prefer content that sticks around, like blog posts and comments/discussion.
However, the recent updates may have changed Klout’s utility quite a bit. And I’m not talking about the scoring model, which Klout says they have improved. Yes, it’s a plus that they give some weighting to your LinkedIn profile. That will work until the social media geniuses figure out how to reverse engineer the algorithm. I’m sure we’ll be seeing many more “CEO” titles as the gurus try to keep their scores high. Shades of SEO!
But all sniping aside, the new “Moments” feature actually has some value for me. As you can see from the screen shot below, it shows a list of “influential moments” during the past 90 days.
And they got it mostly right, although naturally it only counts the social networks I’ve connected to Klout. I don’t use Facebook for business, and don’t use Google+ at all, so these aren’t connected. Klout doesn’t consider commenting on CustomerThink or elsewhere, which is where all my real conversations occur online.
But this is step in the right direction beyond simplistic social scoring. If Klout can continue to show how I’m being influential, and how others are influencing me, I’ll pay more attention.