Is My Message Getting Across?
Wonder no longer. If you haven’t stumbled across it yet, Klout is a free online service that measures your online social influence. Scaled from 1 to 100, the Klout score measures not just your number of connections (followers) but your influence on them. Drawing from your social media accounts, responses by others to your posts, tweets, retweets, FB likes and comments, Google plus interactions and more, Klout calculates how people respond to you. Klout scores are supplemented with three nominally more specific measures, which Klout calls “true reach,” “amplification,” and “network impact.”
Not that Klout isn’t without its detractors. Wikipedia tells us:
Critics have pointed out that Klout scores are not representative of the influence a person really has, highlighted by Barack Obama, President of the United States, having a lower influence score than a number of bloggers. Other social critics argue that the Klout score devalues authentic online communication and promotes social ranking and stratification by trying to quantify human interaction. Such criticism may become quickly outdated due to the dynamic nature of the moving target “social influence”: a recent update to Klout’s algorithms does now rank the importance of Barack Obama in a way that more reflects our perception.
The site has been criticized for violating the privacy of minors, and for exploiting users for its own profit.
John Scalzi has described the principle behind Klout’s operation as “socially evil” in its exploitation of its users’ status anxiety. Charles Stross has described the service as “the Internet equivalent of herpes,” blogging that his analysis of Klout’s terms and conditions reveals that the company’s business model is illegal in the United Kingdom, where it conflicts with the Data Protection Act 1998; Stross advises readers to delete their Klout accounts and opt out of Klout services.
A social evil? Maybe or maybe not. But as blogger Molly McHugh observed:
First accepting that we are being measured by our social influence was a tough pill to swallow – an accurate one (it’s happening whether we like it or not), but a tough one. And then the idea that a Web app could be the deciding factor in all this proved even more difficult to accept,
What You Can Learn from Klout
Aside from scoring your interactions, you can see from your dashboard your top social interactions. Not only do you see the posts and responses, you see, among other things, who re-tweeted your content. The My Score Summary tab displays which social networks your spread your influence. Klout’s easily accessible interface is a one stop shopping for gathering intel on your activities. With this data you can make decisions on where to put or expand your social networking and promoting energies.
How Do You Stack Up?
Klout isn’t especially vocal about measuring one person against another. Nor does it provide segmented demographics, which would be interesting to see. In the FAQ’s tab it does say that the average Klout score is 40. Obama’s Klout score is 99. If you are somewhere between those two numbers you are above average.
And Then There Are Perks
Advertisers contract with Klout to distribute Perks such as giveaways or special discounts in the hopes that recipients promote their products. You can accept or decline a perk. Some things are cool, others not so much but its always worth it to check in to see for what you qualify.
Should You Use Klout?
You may not be copasetic with measuring your social influence. You may not be comfortable with the lack of privacy that Klout implies. But, hey, its an online world out there and we are being measured whether we like it or not. At least with Klout you get to see yourself as the social media world sees you. Isn’t that worth a look?
Beth Turnage authors Astrology Explored as well as being publisher of Astrology Media Press. Beth is available for private consultations. You can contact Beth at firstname.lastname@example.org.