Klout was the theme at the October #SSMC (Stockholm Social Media Club) today. Below are some basic information about Klout and the new Klout score algorithms, and why I don’t think it is a relevant measure of influence (today).
There was an interesting discussion with Annika Lidne (@annika), Therese Reuterswärd(@trulytherese) Simon Sundén (@joinsimon) and Brit Stakston (@britstakston) among others see it below.
What is Klout?
Klout is a web service trying to assess how influential you are. It started out as a service for Twitter, measuring your Twitter influence with a score from 1-100. They are now aiming to give a broader picture, also involving other social networks in the grading, striving to show how influential a person is in total on the social web.
Klout score – how influential are you?
Last week, the founder, Joe Fernandez, announced a change of the Klout algorithms, saying: ”I am excited to announce the biggest improvement to the Klout Score in our history is launching next week” followed by a thousand comments from people wondering about the algorithm and being worried about their Klout scores disappearing.
Two days ago the change was launched, followed by another post from the Klout blog:
”Influence is the ability to drive action and is based on quality, not quantity. When someone engages with your content, we assess that action in the context of the person’s own activity. These principles form the basis of our PeopleRank algorithm which determines your Score based on: how many people you influence, how much you influence them and how influential they are.”
At the lunch today, Simon Sundin, @joinsimon, who has looked deeper into the new algorithms gave a short walkthrough. I got curious and had to do some more reading when I got home. A mix below.
True Reach – does not show how many I do reach with my tweet or post – is shows how many I actually influence in my network. Those who interact with my content. In practice this means that if I have 5000 followers, but no one interacts with my post – no results. Klout sais ”It is a real number of people we find by looking at the impact you have on your connections”. For how long this is measured, latest two weeks, 30 days, is not known to anyone in the room.
Amplification – what influences my network, how many will share the info further on. Klout takes into account the person’s activity ”For instance, if I rarely like or comment on anyone’s posts, but choose to do so to yours, that is more meaningful than if I like 60 posts a day. Amplification indicates the effect you have on your audience.” This will be affected by the number of followers you have and your interaction with them, meaning if you have many followers but only interact with a few of them your Amplification score will be low.
Network Impact – how influential are my contacts? If they are not influential, according to the Klout model, my score goes down. The network impact is meant to indicate the influence level of people who engage with my content.
Why I don’t consider Klout to be a relevant measure of influence
I have not really understood the big fuzz about Klout. I think its dangerous, and actually quite naive, if you stare yourself blind at numbers when it comes to human relations and conversations. As with measuring the number of followers, instead of analysing the type of discussions going on with and about your company and how the interaction vary with time and content. Keeping track of the number of followers is only relevant if you follow up on sudden changes, analysing what might have caused the drop or increase of followers.
Though, we have been looking at Klout even in our organisation, but only to get an indication of how we are doing on Twitter in our different markets. For taking the temperature of how the accounts are feeling, noticing changes. It could also be used as an inspirational thing for improving the client dialouge on Twitter, if your internal Twitter users are inspired by competition between countries or brands. Right now I am also looking into Peoplebrowsr, who calles themselves a Social Engagement and Team Collaboration Platform, and have signed up to their new beta feature Kred, that I believe will be competing wiht Klout.
There are a few things woth thinking of (probably lots more, but all I can come up with friday night) considering Klout for your organisation:
Closed groups/circles. As discussed during lunch, Klout looks at open data. That means closed groups will not be taken in consideration. People who are influential in nisched closed networks will not gain any Klout scores for that interaction.
Klout does not measure personal influence – it measures, or is meant to be measuring, an instant view of the persons influence within specific networks. Klout must be interpreted with an opened mind. A person who is new to Twitter might not be new to his/her knowledge network. I have a good example of this myself, but it is too long to fit in here. I would recommend an article from Joanne Jacobs who has done an experiment on her own Klout scores and has sane thoughts about influencers.
No consideration for interest or nische areas
Klout does not take into considaration what nische you are influential in, what you and your networks’ interests are and what you are actually talking about with a certain group. It would make me interested if I were able to see a more accurat personalised (corporatefied) Klout score for the influence that a person actualy has in my company’s specific areas, and also in my specific network.