5 Reasons Why Klout is Total BS

Klout

I’m convinced that Klout Score is total BS. On the Klout website, they say it’s “the measurement of your overall online influence” but I’m not buying it. Here’s why.

1. Influence doesn’t take a vacation

On April 30th, I left the country for a well-deserved vacation. As you can see in the graph above, my Klout Score started dropping on April 28th after I started reducing my Twitter activity as I prepared to leave.

What’s interesting is that it has continued to decline for almost 3 weeks, even though I started picking up my activity on Twitter again May 8th, which you can see in this graph from TweetStats.

TweetStats

This doesn’t make any sense to me. Sure, I wasn’t interacting or engaging on Twitter for about 10 days, but does that really mean I’m less influential?

And how is it possible that my Klout Score dropped 3.5 points in only 18 days when it took me almost 60 days to increase it only 8 points? Isn’t influence a permanent trait? Shouldn’t a person’s influence score just level out if they disengage for a few days?

2. A day late and a dollar short

The Klout Score graph only shows the last 30 days of history, and there’s no record of any data outside the last 30 days. That sucks, but there’s another problem.

Klout tries to give the impression that your score is real-time, or at least that it’s updated daily. That’s misleading, though, because your activity today won’t actually have an impact on your Klout Score today, or even tomorrow. I’ve found that my activity on a Sunday won’t actually have an impact on my score until Tuesday.

Klout DelayHere’s an example. In this image, you can see the graph of my score for the last 7 days, with the lowest point on Monday, May 16th. In isolation this might be plausible, but what if I told you that I engaged in Mack Collier’s weekly #blogchat on Sunday night, and had a very engaging night with the other participants.

I expected to see an uptick in my Klout Score on Monday, but instead it dropped almost a half point! I didn’t actually see that uptick until Tuesday. That’s fine if you understand what’s going on, but most people, when they see dates on a graph, expect that the data actually applies to the date it’s displayed.

3. The score is meaningless without the style

Klout Scores range from 1 to 100, and they say “higher scores represent a wider and stronger sphere of influence.” They go on to say Klout Score is a representation of how successful a person is at engaging their audience and how big of an impact their messages have on people.

In the end, though, it’s just a number, and just because your number is the same as mine, doesn’t mean we’re equally influential. No. They also assign every user one of 16 different “styles” based on whether:

  • you share or create
  • you listen or participate
  • you are casual or consistent
  • your posts are broad or focused

Of course, taking a vacation also had an impact on my Klout style. Before I left, they said I was a Pundit, and described me as follows:

You don’t just share news, you create the news. As a pundit, your opinions are wide-spread and highly trusted. You’re regularly recognized as a leader in your industry. When you speak, people listen.

Now I’m back to being a Specialist, which they describe as follows:

You may not be a celebrity, but within your area of expertise your opinion is second to none. Your content is likely focused around a specific topic or industry with a focused, highly-engaged audience.

4. Foursquare ≠ influence

If you read my post Nobody Cares That You’re at the Gas Station, you know I’m not a big fan of Foursquare. I also don’t believe that playing Foursquare (it is a game afterall) has anything to do with influence.

According to the Klout page where users connect the site to their networks (see below), the ability to connect to your LinkedIn and Foursquare accounts is “Coming soon!” Once that happens, Klout will have officially jumped the shark.

Klout Networks

What do my check-in activity, badges and mayorships have to do with my influence? If you said nothing, then you and I agree. If you disagree, I’d love to hear your reasoning. Just don’t try to convince me that your check-ins, badges and mayorships might influence me to visit the same places you visit.

If you define influence the way Klout does, as the ability to drive people to action, with “action” being defined as a reply, a retweet, a comment, or a click, then Foursquare doesn’t make sense as a measure of influence. I’m not aware of any way for Klout to determine if I’ve driven someone to action with my Foursquare activity.

5. Why do you think Klout is BS?

I know the title said I would share 5 reasons why Klout is total BS. I lied. I know you have an opinion on the subject, so please help me with the 5th reason.

How do you feel about Klout scores? Do you think they are total BS?

Please add to the conversation by posting your thoughts in the comments. And if you like what you’ve read here, please share it with your friends on Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Comments

  1. Mack Collier says

    Hey Colin I know this is old (damn Google Alerts!) but what I’ve noticed with Klout is there appears to be a 2-day lag in scoring. Because like you, I almost never see a bump in my score on Monday, but almost always see it on Tuesday. So I’m assuming the bump I see every Tuesday is from my activity Sunday night during #blogchat. Check your Klout score and I bet you’ll see the same thing.

    • says

      Old post – yes. But it’s on a NEW blog and you’re the first one to comment on the new site! Thanks, Mack. And yes, every Tuesday I see a nice little bump in my Klout score as a result of #blogchat. Unfortunately, though, they made some sort of adjustment to their algorithm around 2/13 and I’ve been in free-fall since then, dropping about 4 points.

  2. Makr says

    yeah, I just looked at klout.com and it based it’s score 99% on social networks that I rarely use. FB, the one I use on nearly a daily basis, had 1% influence. has no relevance at all.

  3. mike says

    My Klout activity FROZE on November 5, 2013. Since then, there have been ZERO activity updates on my Klout profile, although I have posted and engaged hundreds of people in the last month. My Klout score has fallen over 10 points due to NO ACTIVITY updates on my Klout feed. I have written to Klout support but heard nothing. I agree with you 100% – Klout is 100% BS – especially if there are no activity updates.

  4. Brad says

    On lathing I don agree with is the Foursquare opinion. There is an influence when it comes to retardants. Oddly I tend to use Foursquare more than Yelp to search restaurants because my SoCal Foodie friends use it & make comments, the map in the Foursquare app works better, & I don’t want Yelp’s broader range of opinions.

  5. ryanov says

    foursquare has comments and likes, like Facebook. I have to imagine that’s what’s getting measured.

  6. says

    Klout is a good APPROXIMATE way of showing someone’s influence… no one can honestly believe an automated system off online marketing tools can be that accurate, just like spammy affiliate sites make it to the first page of Google still, even after Penguin. However, there is an epidemic of companies’ hiring online marketing experts and using Klout scores as one of their criteria… i.e., one may have 7 years experience for a good company with a Klout of 27 and another with 1 year of experience with a small startup and Klout of 65 and the latter was hired. So just like any marketing job, dont put all your eggs in one basket and do everything right… the right employer will recognize it.

  7. says

    Agree 100%. I have noticed a big surge when I signed up, and now it’s dropping sharply with no apparent reason. I connected my Google+ and that should have added influence considering how active I am.

    In short my engagement is going up, audience is growing and my Klout score is going down. Frankly I couldn’t care less!

  8. says

    Searching for relevance of Klout impact – I agree with you.  Connection as a ranking is no true value assigned. And now that other social streams are niche-marketed to provide – often Exceptional results – Klout is unable to track them.
    Social extends so far past the reach of klout that anyone trusting in appeasement of it will probably miss the mark anyway.

  9. says

    Have you read the about section on the Klout website?  They pretty much try to sum themselves up as super cool, hard charging, drinking, rough and tumble dudes… and it in no way reflects their website, or web presentation.  It sounds more like a bio for VICE Magazine.  And they throw in this oddly generic  mention that if you want to work for Klout, come out to the Bay area and something will probably happen!  Oh really?

  10. says

    I recently found out about Klout [a month ago or so] and today, my boss [I convinced her to join my network on klout] found your article and said: “Georgian, sorry to burst your bubble…”.
    Of course, it’s a controversial subject and the system certainly has some issues in measuring the social influence [which is hard to define anyway].
    But one thing I enjoyed about klout is that it made me aware of what happens with my social media presence. Yes, I have a facebook account. Yes, I am on twitter too, and foursquare, and tumblr, and wordpress, and linkedin, and youtube, and so many others. And of course klout is a game. It looks more important to have a bigger score than to feel or actually be more influential. But still, trying to raise your klout score actually makes you more active, if not influential, in social media. That is why I said I became aware – I posted more careful on facebook, I remembered I can use twitter in my benefit, I realized the potential of google+ [if any :) ], I tried to figure out foursquare, I installed tweetdeck, I looked out for opportunities, and tools, and read articles and reviews and tutorials and all that.
    And it happened because of klout, curiously. But maybe not randomly.

    • says

      Very interesting perspective, Constantin! I can’t say I disagree with you, because I’ve done the same thing on occasion.

  11. Possum says

    In this article: Attention hungry babies who need ridiculously stupid things like Klout to feel justified in their existence.

  12. says

    Klout covers such a tiny part of the online world that it would be dismissible if not for the many who give it undue credence.

    Every non-Blogger/Wordpress web page, every forum discussion, every newsgroup post, every mailing list  – so much of the activity many engage in via the ‘net is completely missed by Klout.

    • says

      Amen Richard! You are giving them credit for including Blogger and WordPress sites, but those aren’t a part of the algorithm either.

  13. says

    I agree with Tom below – Klout has some game elements to it, but for me it has helped me re-engage with my social media friends – Facebook, almost exclusively. In recent weeks, I have started to post more to my wall and be more active by commenting or liking other people’s posts as well as. The Klout score reassures that I’m playing the “game” the right way, my ultimate goal is turn my influence into customers and/or advocates for my business. 

    I just hit 50 and am curious to see where I can take it – especially since my birthday is this Thursday – I’m wondering whether all of those “happy birthdays” on my wall will push me an extra few points for a while. Or until I go on vacation. 

  14. says

    I’m mainly confused by the fact that whenever you send in a new tweet to the word, which isnt retweeted straight away, your score drops. I guess they should give you some time for stuff like that?

  15. says

    I’m mainly confused by the fact that whenever you send in a new tweet to the word, which isnt retweeted straight away, your score drops. I guess they should give you some time for stuff like that?

  16. says

    The ultimate proof of Klout being BS is to compare real life influence to Klout score. For example: I am a budding audio engineer and artist. My Klout score is currently 45. This beats a couple well-known producers I know, both with platinum record credits and way more fame and influence than me. Their Klout scores are 40 and 31 respectively. As another person said, it really only measures engagement, not actual influence.

  17. Brad says

    Klout is like SEO – largely irrelevant if you are doing the right thing to build solid relationships.

    • says

      Interesting perspective if I’m understanding it correctly. To me, what you are saying is that a person will naturally have a high Klout score if they are doing things right on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Same for SEO. Write great content that people want to share and discuss, and the SEO will take care of itself.

  18. says

    I think that’s a fascinating article – I’ve been saying for a while that Klout doesn’t measure what they think it does. My score has similarly dropped after a vacation, though probably if I’d scheduled tweets and asked a few friends to RT anything they saw, it wouldn’t have. Would that mean I was still being influential even though I wasn’t actually there to engage?

    • says

      So, is it your position, then, that a person who isn’t actively engaging at all times isn’t influential during those times?

    • says

      You know the worst part about that? It seems that once they establish the
      list of things you are influential about that they never change! I’ve been
      influential about cheesecake for far too long! Maybe you and I need to get
      together and start a cheesecake, sausage and barbecue restaurant?

  19. says

    I’m not the biggest fan of Klout when it is used as the one and only measure to decide if someone is influential. But it can be a step in the right direction because lets face it, there really isn’t any other reliable social metric to measure people on.

    That said, I continue to avoid Klout in any of my professional platforms and strategies when it comes to Social Media. I see a Social CRM replacing Klout as it likely has some connection to sales and other data that matters to most companies.

    As for Foursquare integration and that playing into your Klout score, I can see how that would happen. Mostly because if you leave tips or todos, it could be seen as something that influences action on a local level. But beyond that, I just don’t know.

    Until a better platform supplants Klout, it can be used at least directionally (with caution).

    • says

      It may not come across in the article, but I agree with you Dennis. Klout is
      one of only a handful of tools that we can use to measure social influence,
      and hopefully articles like this one will only serve to help improve them.
      You’ve also given me an idea for another blog topic – social CRM. THANKS!

    • says

      My Klout score jumped from 33 to 53 in a single day in April even though I’m not really socially active on the web, I don’t post links and use facebook sparsely, I’d say I’m the typical 10-20-point range on Klout. I really wonder what caused the 20-point jump. Now I feel under pressure to live up to my 53-point score so I’ve been tweeting like crazy, sharing links and connecting all my profiles :D

  20. Writercherie says

    Klout doesn’t have clout with me. For instance, it says I’m influential on topics such as gay, lesbian, and bisexual, when I’ve never mentioned, tweeted, talked about said things. I wish they would remove those, in case someone important checks my profile and thinks I’m some kind of bigot or the other way around. I’m a writer and I mostly talk or retweet things related to writing and books. It’s so stupid.

    • says

      Did you know that @Klout:twitter has added the ability for you to remove items from the list of topics you are influential about?

  21. says

    I find it all very interesting and I mean that sincerely. I think that the tools to measure influence are always questionable be it Nielsen, Klout or any of the other groups out there. 

    I am pleased to say that I have received some very cool Klout perks. I appreciate that. Doesn’t mean that I am convinced that they have the secret formula any more than the others do.

    But I think that when we discuss how to measure influence we need to accept that there are going to be areas of variability that we can’t get around as easily as people might like.

    • says

      I was going to ask why I’ve never received any Klout Perks, but after this blog post, it’s probably a lost cause!  (-;

    • says

      I’d love to know how @Klout decides the 5 topics a person is influential about. That’s a good addition for #5 on the list.

    • says

      Thanks @osakasaul:twitter. I don’t normally let people include links in their comments, but yours is relevant, and I like you!

      • Saul Fleischman says

        oops! I had read some are against article intros, but since it only do it if totally relevant, I have yet to be admonished. In any case, its some ideas on crossXpromotion and blogger engagement. Our kind of stuff.
        Good to see you know @dino_dogan:twitter – just found his butt in your comments.

    • says

      Strange. Your comment appears, disappears, reappears, etc. It’s approved, but Disqus is playing games with me!

      • Saul Fleischman says

        Yes, but it may have something to do with my Disqus, since the same thing happened yesterday on another blog. Quite odd, and appologies in advance – in case I stuffed something up, haha

  22. says

     Hey Colin,

    I’m the Marketing Manager here at Klout and wanted to chime in and clear up a few things. Per your points:

    1) The vacation issue. This is an interesting one that we’ve talked a lot about internally. The truth is that we’re dealing with the real-time web here and absence for a week or so does impact your social presence. However, when you start engaging again you’ll see your score go back up if you are consistently influential. 

    2) We definitely do update daily, including all the data within it. The fact that your score went down on that day likely has to do with our 30 day window and your new day wasn’t as good as the day that “left” our window at that time. We are definitely thinking about how we can make increases and decreases in score more clear and are thinking about evaluating a longer window of time. 

    3) Honestly, we like that you’re talking about more than the score and looking at style as well. This is great in our mind. 

    4) Foursquare — I think you’re making assumptions about how we would calculate influence here. This is stil under development but foursquare can actually influence actions. If I see a friend at a bar and go there myself, they have influenced me. 

    I want to add that we realize what a momentous challenge it is to try to measure online influence and we are constantly working to improve. Thanks for the feedback and I hope you’ll keep giving it to us as we move forward and hopefully get better. 

    • says

      Wow! It’s pretty impressive when @Klout:twitter  shows up to comment on a blog post! Thanks @meganberry:twitter!

    • says

       Hi Megan,

      I was asked to speak at a conference regarding Klout and Klout like services in October and November.

      I am NOT a believer. However, I would love to offer a friendly drilling on my blog so you can state your piece and answer some tough questions.

      My invite stands. Will you knock it down? :-)

    • says

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Megan.

      1) Klout is supposed to measure social influence, so why is my social presence impacting my score?

      2) I’m going to need to dig in a little to understand the 30 day window you described. You’re comparing my last day in the window to my first day in the window? How does that make any sense? Regarding your “evaluating a longer window of time, I’d love to have access to a much longer history of my various scores, even if I have to download an XLS or CSV file.

      3) The styles are the one thing I really LIKE about Klout.

      4) We’ll have to agree to disagree on Foursquare, and I can only make assumptions about how you would calculate influence there because I haven’t found any information about how you plan to do it. Maybe I can INFLUENCE your methodology? If so, would you give me a nice bump in my Klout score?

      • says

         “You’re comparing my last day in the window to my first day in the window?”

        It seems like the influence score uses some form of averages within a 30 day window.

        For example, if you had 100 units of measurement on day 1 of a 30 day span and on day 31 (which would be your “new” day 30 and your prior “day 1″ drops off), you had 10, your overall average would drop.

        It’s a simplistic example because I don’t understand how Klout measures influence but that’s the impression I get from Megan’s response.

      • says

        That’s exactly how it sounds to me too, Ryan. I appreciate the explanation, too, because I was having trouble wrapping my brain around it.

    • says

      Megan writes:

      “The truth is that we’re dealing with the real-time web here and absence for a week or so does impact your social presence.”

      Megan: Can you give us a few concrete examples of how absence in a week impacts our social presence among our own followers?

      Myself, I can’t see any truth in your statement. But I don’t want to just dismiss you when a simple deconstruction of your text suggests a certain false consciousness – however bright and friendly. [warm smile]

      I can’t see it unless the scoring of influence is “mistakenly” weighted toward new follows and interactions with new followers. It would be a mistaken approach because Klout states that it is reflecting influence (real time or whatever) and not merely a churn rate of interaction/transaction. IMHO, churn is largely irrelevant.

      For example, I buy fresh bread everyday from across the street but I’d tell the baker to STFU if he offered me an opinion of any kind on anything else. Culture, Economics, Politics…  for example. In other words, the baker doesn’t have “influence” and I can tell you that he doesn’t even know much about bread. He makes one kind of bread and it’s barely passable as bread.  He sells it because his bread because it’s cheap and warm. And I only buy his inferior bread because I just have to walk across the street to get it.

      I don’t want to give you a hard time, Megan. You bring an A game in old school PR. But what Klout is doing right and/or wrong is a conversation that goes beyond the PR kit. Does Klout as an organization get that? Do they empower you to tap the product manager and top engineers to come into the public debates?

      Two questions/issues here. Take all the time you want to answer them. Cheers!

    • Anonymous says

      Colin – Sanford from PeerIndex here.  As another player in the social capital space, how would you evaluate influence?

      I would comment that one of the aspects of measuring online actions is challenging since most metrics act as either a direct measure (e.g. how many tweets this day, how many followers) or as a storage measure (e.g. how to keep your influence relevant over time).  When using a single metric to determine ranking, you naturally have a single queue – which means activity in the world could jockey people within the single queue.

      One of the reasons at PI we focus on topic authorities is that you are likely to be authoritative on a set of topics that you rank / show activity in than others.  We have been rolling out our TPI metric for that very purpose. 

      One size does not fit all – and while Justin Bieber has incredible reach and influence, I do not think he could change my mind about which spark plug I would purchase because he mentions it.  But (for all who love the Bieber) I would agree that IF he mentioned a spark plug manufacturer, it would get great traffic and mention – but I would think little action (e.g., purchases).

      • says

        Sanford – I appreciate your comments, and right now I’m trying to figure out why they are not showing up on the actual blog post. Once I get that figured out, I’ll work on a more thoughtful reply.

      • says

        This got me thinking. I should probably set up the spam filter to remove any comments with the word Bieber in them.  (-;

        Seriously, though. Thanks for stopping by and contributing to the conversation, Sanford. I know measuring influence isn’t a perfect process, and my hope was to get you, Megan (from @Klout:twitter), and others thinking about these issues and how you “market” them to people like me.

        You and Megan have proven one simple fact. You’re listening to what people like me are saying, and you’re willing to take our opinions into account and engage in thoughtful conversations. I’m impressed.

  23. KeriLynn Engel says

     The first time I checked Klout, it said I was most influential about “Bacon”. I don’t even like bacon all that much. I asked my tweeps if they were just following me for my bacon authority factor, and it turned into a great discussion amongst us. So Klout turned out to be right after all…

    • Dean says

      Somehow Klout decided I was influential about #Elvis, even though I’ve never used the hashtag. Meanwhile, there are other subjects I tweet about and get retweeted, but no influence. Go figure. And the “vacation” phenomenon is definitely an issue that they need to address.

      • says

        I’ve heard of some people contacting Klout to have their topics of influence corrected. They also let you “hide” topics you don’t want to be listed, which I’ve done.

  24. says

     as i like to say, in the land of the socially blessed, klout has a viable business model (read ignorant where it says blessed).

    klout is a scam, people who pay to access their data are being duped into believing something (reputation and influence) that they don’t understand and don’t know it cannot be measured.

    • says

       Er, Esteban, I’m pretty sure people don’t pay for their data on Klout. It’s free for users.

      • says

        Tim and Collin,

        What do you think the business model for Klout is? if you ask them, they will tell you they are a marketing company.  they sell access to the data, not to the users but to the brands.  All those events that you get invited because of your score, the upgrades you get in hotels because of your score, etc… where do you think they are coming from?  if you read their TOS you will also see that you have to get approval to use klout scores, and that is where the money comes from.

        users? they don’t pay, of course – it is like saying you would have to pay to get an entry posted in your FICO score or credit report… why would you pay when someone is willing to pay more to access that information?

        Esteban 

      • says

        Hey. I’ve never been invited to events or received any upgrades because of my Klout score! Guess I’ve got some work to do.

        I’ll dig a little more into their TOS as you suggested, Esteban. Thanks for continuing the conversation

      • says

        I assume that’s why they demoted me. Their budget for Klout Perks was depleted, and they needed to cut back on the number of invitations.

    • says

      Like Tim said, I’m not aware of anyone paying to access their Klout data. Would you care to explain what you meant, because perhaps we’re just misunderstanding your point?

  25. Didyousmellthat says

    It’s just noise. But so is a three year old throwing a tantrum at the grocery store. Collin I think the money flowing in is a better indicator of your real clout.

  26. says

     My 5th reason: Facebook. Not everyone uses FB to wield influence. Some of us just want an easy way to say Hi to old school buds and play some free games. (Or just me.) I’ll second you on checking in at the gas station not being a measure of influence. And what of LI and people who sync it to Twitter .. a hot mess waiting to happen. 

    Klout doesn’t measure why, motivations for why we RT this or that, who’s checking someone else’s score to finesse their follow/follower lists, if a RT = any action or purchase or even a click. Last time I checked it, 2 of my 5 influencers were people I rarely if ever read or RT. Huh?That said, not sure it can be ignored (though I sorta do). While I may think it’s crap, others won’t and will use it as one of many yardsticks by which to measure social influence. For what it’s worth, influence is something to consider but I don’t think as is Klout has the algorithm to look at qualitative factors (like style, context as you mentioned) while also resisting efforts to rig the score.

    • says

      Ahhh yes. Facebook. My usage of my Facebook personal profile is exactly that… PERSONAL. Twitter, on the other hand, is where I engage with people who share my professional interests – social media, marketing, photography, etc. Different worlds, yet both factor in to my Klout score. 

      • says

        Magic word Collin, Interest. I’ve written mini-books in comments on motivation and interest as to how I use Twitter for different reasons, professional ones with strategies that could mislead Klout. FB IS a totally different world often b/c it’s not common interests that connect us, but personal associations. To Megan’s example, is it the Foursquare checkin that brings you to a bar, or the fact it was a friend who shared it? I get asked to dinner by friends all the time, has nothing to do w/ their Twitter influence, just my interest in seeing them. I’m glad she’s reading and looking at different points of view. FWIW.

      • says

        I don’t know how you found me, Davina, but I’m very glad you’re here and contributing to the conversation! Thanks!

      • Anonymous says

         Colin – an additional thought.  What Megan was discussing re: foursquare – the idea is that you impact people with your actions.  The very act of sharing content which may inspire others to act as well is the current measure of influence.

        Consider who Klout (and our) paying customers are.  Our customers are seeking a way to 1) grow impressions and 2) cause actions.  And, as Joe himself put it influence is measured by the ability to manipulate or convince others to a specific action.

        Brand marketers, while becoming more sophisticated in their use of social media and engagement, are still about generating awareness and sales.  Awareness is based on impressions, sales on the time when the impression drives a change in the normal buying behavior.  Thus, these companies are creating the incentives to achieve their goals.

        The fact that your personal network within Facebook is just that – personal – it is also where the best trusted relationship occurs.  What you post on a public facing blog is excellent fodder for your reputation, your own personal brand and your reach (which is why we include your blog in our analysis if you submit it).  But the great influence you tend to have are those personal connections – those moments where you mention something or answer a question to a family friend about some topic or concern that changes their behavior or informs them of another option.

        That is what all of the solutions are aiming to understand – or at least assist the customers in.

        But then why do we have a “free” user interface?  Because some people – like yourself and others – like to be part of the WOM networks that do crow about particular topics.  And by giving you the tools to understand what determines the aspect of your PeerIndex that you may wish to optimize, that is where the engagement with the tools occur.  We are developing tools to help YOU own your PI and allowing the brands to better understand you.

        Things are a changing in this field.  Get ready for some tools that play more to Naomi Klein’s “No Logo” and your collaboration with these brands.

      • says

        Another thorough and thoughtful reply, Sanford. I think it’s a little too simplistic, though, to say that “influence is measured by the ability to manipulate or convince others to a specific action.” That works for your “paying customers” as you call them, but not for folks like me who influence people in many different ways by blogging, tweeting, etc.

  27. says

    I took the day off social media yesterday because it was my Birthday. Nevertheless, My Klout score increased by a point — it was influenced by the more than 100 people who dropped by my Facebook page just to say ‘Happy Birthday.’ It turned out to be a birthday present from @klout:twitter!

    • says

      Everybody knows that getting 50 “happy birthday” messages on your Facebook wall equates to being more influential. 

      • Makr says

        I don’t put my real birthday on Facebook, because I don’t like getting birthday greetings from people that wouldn’t have known to wish me happy birthday unless FB told them to.

  28. says

    I agree completely!  Although I check my klout score reasonably often, many of my stats don’t update.  I’ve had a support issue for weeks where my Facebook stats have not updated … they seem completely puzzled and it is now with “development”.  Uh huh.  Meanwhile, others have bypassed my score and love to remind me who is on top!   

    • says

      Klout has a support team to support their free tool? Who knew? I wouldn’t hold my breath on a solution to your problem.

  29. Anonymous says

    One thing that crossed my mind recently as I was doing some research on influence… Klout says that a higher score represents greater influence. There’s a big difference between influence and engagement. I think that Klout can represent how often my tweets are retweeted and how many people talk back to me, but is that really influence? I also think that it’s a little funny that every description on the quadrant, for lack of a better term, is meant to make you feel really good. “You only tweeted twice but they were really good tweets! You’re on your way up!”

    It’s starts to feel like a horoscope that tells me my day is going to be sunny with a chance of clouds.

    • says

       Hi Fedra,

      I’d love to learn more about this research you were doing. I’m speaking at a conference regarding Klout, it would be nice to present some data to go with my opinion :-)

      • says

        You know opinions don’t need to be supported by data, Dino!

        Where are you speaking? I’d love to meet you in person sometime, and a conference would be a great place for it.

      • says

         haha…right-o.

        Im doing a gig in Boston then Toronto…Oct and Nov…or is it the other way around? lol

        Where are you btw? Im in Tucson, AZ right now but will be back in NJ next month.

      • says

        I’m in Madison, WI most of the time. If you’re doing gigs in Toronto and Boston in Oct and Nov, I’ll probably see you at one of them, because that can only mean you’ll be at #ungeeked! Am I right?

    • says

       LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the horoscope analogy here. I just reviewed all the style descriptions and you’re right on, Fadra.

  30. says

     Wow, some very compelling arguments Collin, especially the 4sq one really appears quite weird to me. Do you think there is a difference in PeerIndex’ algorithm that makes it better? 

    • says

      I haven’t spent a lot of time stydying PeerIndex’ algorithm… yet. But it’s on my list of sites to dig in to over the coming months. I’m impressed that PeerIndex takes Quora into account in their algorithm, but they cancel that respect out by including FourSquare.

  31. Tom says

    Just like Foursquare, Klout is a game. You can play it, too. How? Apparently by tweeting a lot and replying to other tweeps a lot. Does that make you more influencial? No. Authenticity is more important than volume, IMO, and that cannot be measured by any shiny piece of technology. It’s measured every day by your followers – and how much they appreciate you.  

    • says

      I never really thought about Klout as a game, but now that you mention it, I think I agree. It has a score, and I always feel like I’m competing with others. Nice insight, Tom.

      • says

        This was my first impression of Klout. Complete quests, earn rewards, level up… now where is the merchant so I can trade my gold for better weapons?

    • Stuart Webster says

      I totally agree, Klout is nothing more than a game for Social addicts it’s fun and relatively harmless. I’d certainly not see it as any meaningful indication of my influence. 
      Will keep playing until the next game comes along.

      • says

        Stuart – If you like the intersection of games and social media, then you should check out http://empireavenue.com. For me, it’s a giant waste of time, but many people like it. I also have a recent blog post about it if you are interested.

  32. says

    Awww, but mine was just approaching 50. Now I have to find another number to validate my existence! Don’t be too quick to criticize the FourSquare integration. Maybe it will be detrimental to check in at your desk. Every. Single. Day. 

    • says

      I remember a guy at work who used to check in in at his desk. Every. Single. Day. Keep working on that Klout score, and some day you might be able to call yourself a “social media expert”. Of course, after that, @garyvee:twitter will call you a clown!

  33. says

    In another post, an interesting discussion about Klout’s relevance was sparked in the comments and a representative of Klout even came on the scene. Unfortunately, she didn’t bring many answers- even though she did apply friendly and disarming charm. Perhaps, we’ll get some more feedback this time around. At least, we can hope.

    You make some thoughtful points. Influence doesn’t take a vacation, for example. Influence of decay might decay faster when you’re at the top of the influence scale, but I find it silly for it to fall by more than a point or two for even months of down time. IF YOU ARE AT THE TOP. And the fact that you were at the top makes it likely that you can regain influence by the slightest re-engagement. As I mentioned in another post, Klout’s algorithms remind me of Facebook games- games that don’t have much more than a month of game play written into the story.

    Ironically, Klout is more focused on how to prevent gaming of their inadequate scuoring than making their scores more relevant and meaningful. Because, perhaps, that is the lesser of the two challenges. The latter, in fact, may require 300 signals and Pentagon level computing power to process the exponential affections and relationships between the many. Google, I understand negotiates with less than 100 signals in determining page rank and search results.

    Anyway, I’m curious how this all will pan out. Online reputation is likely to be more significant and valuable than the Facebook. And in not too many years.

    • says

      You’ll be happy to know that a representative of @klout:twitter came on the scene again! Thanks for your very thoughtful reply, Stan. I’m proud to say I’m in the tribe with you on @triberr:twitter.

  34. Matt says

    I suspect they built the decay into it to account for people who share event specific content, like SXSW. This would completely miss the people who consistently share over multiple events and give results such as the vacation drop.

    The 4square addition will be detrimental if they can’t identify distinct users between the various networks. Though I agree the content of a check in is unlikely to signify influence.

    • says

      I just think starting the decay process so quickly when a person is absent from the social media pool is presumptuous. It’s an imperfect tool, though, and understanding that is half the battle. 

      • says

        They could/should implement a “Checkout” program, where you actively have to check yourself out of Klout, effectively freezing your score while you’re on vacation, and then check yourself in to start picking back up.  This would take care of those who Tweet hundreds of times at a conference, and never again.

      • says

        This idea is GENUIS! Even better would be if Klout just recognized that your activity has stopped, and automatically “paused” your score.

Please be nice and helpful and add something constructive to the conversation if you can, whether you agree with me or not. Please use your real name. For the fine print, here is the comment policy.