The interwebz have been abuzz for the past week about Klout.
In case you have been in blissful ignorance up until now, Klout is a website that assigns a score (out of 100) to your social influence, or essentially, how much social media power, or clout you have. Here’s a blog post I wrote about Klout a while back that explains it.
I have always taken my Klout score with a very large grain of salt, partly because even though Klout claims to have a robust algorithm, my score appears to go up and down seemingly at random. And then, last week, Klout adjusted their algorithm. They claimed they were doing this to make scoring better, and more accurate, and that most people’s scores would remain similar. From the buzz I heard on the internet, most people’s scores did not remain similar. Many people lost 10+ points over night, and were (somewhat justifiably) upset by this. My score, which had been hovering around 70 a couple of weeks ago, is now at 57.
The burning question is, how important is your Klout score, really? If you are a social media enthusiast like me, your Klout score may be a way that people who might be interested in hiring you will judge if you are what you say you are. A higher Klout score would indicate that you are a legitimate “expert” or “guru” (quotation marks used deliberately, you know how I feel about those terms). A lower score might indicate you are a sham.
My issue with Klout is that it feels to me like they are deliberately misleading and fearmongering. There have been times when I’ve logged into my account to see a panicky message from Klout: “Your score fell by two points!” And recently, I got this message:
See the third Twitter account in? The one that looks like a rainbow labyrinth? That’s the Twitter account of my friend, Mary Melinski. Now, Mary and I were friends long before Klout, or even Twitter existed, and we will continue to be friends long after they are gone.
Mary doesn’t even have a Klout account. Why, then is she showing up on a warning message that my influence no longer includes her? Because if you have a Twitter account, Klout automatically creates an account for you in Klout. You may not even know that Klout exists, and yet someone, somewhere, is judging you. That just seems not right to me.
Klout is constantly encouraging me to Tweet my scores, or Twitter or put on Facebook when someone gives me K+ (which is like giving someone props in a subject area that they are knowledgeable about, and it helps to drive up your score). I don’t like that. It’s pushy, and I feel very strongly that Klout is using deceptive means to try to grow their influence.
Now, you might think that this is sour grapes talking, because my score took a bit hit last week. But it’s not. I’ve always been of the opinion that you need to not take your Klout score too seriously. But these recent developments make me trust them even less.
What do you think? Is Klout a load of bunk? Or should we take our Klout scores seriously?