Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What Does Your Klout Score Mean to You?

Recently, Social Media Influence measuring tool Klout has been a hot topic in the Social Media sphere. Not just because of the scores it gives out like grades, but more for the power that Klout provides to companies and savvy marketers.

I see a lot of anti-Klout backlash on Twitter, people harrumphing about not having time or interest to worry about their score...and even more people who are concerned with increasing their score. On Quora someone asked "How much Klout does Klout really have?" Here is my answer:

It depends on what kind of clout you're looking at Klout for.

Right now, Users are looking at Klout as a measure of their influence - which Klout broadly defines as likelihood of response to a tweet/post/status.

Brand Marketers are looking at Klout as a tool to identify Key Opinion Leaders so they don't have to do their own KOL research. (Which, I admit, having done qute a bit of that over the years, can be a drag.)

Most of the folks who are actively engaged with Social Media see Klout as a kind of gold star on their report card. It's not like they really *care* per se, but they know that lazy, time-crunched people make decisions based on things like that, so they keep it high, without actively pursuing a a high Klout score for the sake of having a high score.

EVERYONE knows it's a game and can be manipulated, and that the algorithm is flawed, skewed and biased. But it simplifies complexity, and that has some value, even if it is flawed, skewed and biased.

There was some press this week about a fashion party that only allowed people with a Klout score of 40 or above in. That shows a complete misunderstanding of the kind of authenticity needed to have a good Social Media reputation. To paraphrase Groucho Marx, I wouldn't join a party that would let me in...for that kind of reason.

I like Klout. I've gotten some good perks. My score is good. It's a tool, and a score, and maybe even an entree to exclusive things, but the true clout I've built is the way I interact on Social Media platforms. I have a high Klout score because I have clout, not the other way around.

What's your take on Klout?
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