I logged into Klout this morning, and was greeted by this pop-up ‘warning’. It tells me that my Klout score is dropping, and that I can raise it by sharing more content, and engaging with my network.
Klout adds this explanation for what its score means: “The Klout Score is the measurement of your overall online influence.”
So Klout tells me that it measures online influence, but that in order to increase my score, I should increase my social media activity? Then doesn’t that mean it’s measuring my activity instead of my influence?
Likewise, Empire Avenue also explains that your score there is dependent on your level of social media activity: “When you join Empire Avenue, you can connect your Social Networking accounts, and we’ll score activity and engagement in each account and give you a virtual share price.”
Essentially, Klout and Empire Avenue are measuring your level of social media activity, not your level of online influence.
Simply sharing more content and engaging with my network isn’t going to make me more influential over them. In fact if it’s not the type of content and engagement that they are looking for, my influence over them will fall, not rise as I become more active.
Also note that both Klout and Empire Avenue are encouraging you to participate with their site. EA includes activity on the site as part of your score, and Klout is already encouraging you to give +K to other members, and I’m betting they will come up with other ways to reward you for interacting more with other Klout members. Which is smart of both sites to do, but it doesn’t help either of them more effectively measure my perceived online influence.
What do you think? What role does social media activity play in online influence? Does one lead to the other?
@taracoomans @MackCollier Adam Singer makes some more good points in this post today: “On the web, it’s not influence – it’s trust”.
I think Klout is doing a great job in trying to measure influence on social media channels, but if they can’t measure my blogging interactions, email communications, Skype conversations and IRL meetings, I doubt it can ever be a very accurate measure of my overall influence. And when I do more of those things, which truly gives me more “clout”, my Klout always makes the expected nosedive. Enough said.
@listen2you @UniqueVisitor We have to think for ourselves now? Uh-oh 😉
This is simply clever game mechanics for a very clever social game. Remember they are trying to make money somehow and having a thriving, addicted community is part of their value prop to paying customers.
I think it shows they are trying very hard to be relevant as more pressure is applied to them to clarify exactly what they are and what they are not.
Influence is one of the most complex human paradigms. Its folly to think a tool like Klout could even come close to measuring it without first understanding what it is.
Good post. Thanks!
Jeff – Sensei
Mack – I’m finding the Klout scores are just ridiculous and all over the place. I’m “pleased” with mine but they had me once labeled as a sidelines sort of guy (I forgot the term) and ANYONE that knows ANYTHING about me knows that ain’t me. So, I ultimately wonder about all these measurements. My Klout score got me the #5 spot on Cision’s list of Top 50 Dad Bloggers so that made me happy, but then they changed their metrics completely, didn’t use Klout at all, and 3 of the top 5 on that original list weren’t on a subsequent list of Top 25! So, that showed me the foolishness of it all!
There’s ONE thing I retained from my MBA at UCLA – from my statistics class – numbers are COMPLETELY manipulatable – not a word, but you got my drift!
CU tonight – for the BEST chat in the TwitterVerse – #blogchat!
You’ve hit on exactly why I have never been a fan of Klout. In addition to the fact that it measures activity over real influence, it is extremely easy to game the system. If you get retweeted a whole lot (which you could work out if you wanted to) your Klout score would go up based on no good reason in particular.
I understand that a lot of people are saying Klout is gaining in importance and a lot of people are fans of the Klout perks, but I just cannot get on the Klout bandwagon.
Glad I’m not entirely alone 🙂
Solid points all around, sir. Sorry, I would have commented earlier, but I was blasting out as many tweets as possible with random @ replies to people I don’t even know so that I could boost my score. If you’ll +1 me then I’ll +1 you. Sorry, had to stop typing this response as colleague in office next to me is on a call and cannot concentrate over the full volume cackling I could not control as I typed this.
Cheers. Great to see you using Livefyre btw, @JennaLanger and team are top notch.
Awesome post here! I just finished a conversation with a great friend and mentor in which I espoused that Klout and Empire Avenue are, in my opinion, games. Obviously, EA does a better job of peddling itself as such, but in the case of Klout I get the sense that they aren’t being forthright with their true identity. They’d have us to believe that Klout is a reputable tool for measurement. That it is not. I see both of these sites evolving into “gameified” social networking sites. And to answer your question, social media activity plays a role in online influence only insofar as the quality (not quantity) of that activity means something to other people interacting seriously and socially. One may lead to the other, but only for the more passionate social media folks looking to grow within the space. Nonetheless, +K me and I’ll +K you!
@JGoldsborough And now you’re just typing comments to get Livefyre points! 🙂 I think Klout has the right idea with +K as it is measuring more than just how often my tweets are interacted with. One one end they are helping people share real influence, but at the same time we know how the system works and you can @ reply a number of people to see if that helps your score.
If you think about it though, the I’ll +1 you if you +1 me is how the business world works, isn’t it? It’s all about who you know, and helping each other out. The question always comes down to “what is influence?” A questions I still don’t think we have a good answer to.
@jennalanger @JGoldsborough LOL Jenna and thus the gamification circle is complete 😉
@MackCollier Good points, @jennalanger . Definitely different definitions of influence out there and yes, what Klout is doing is smart from a business perspective. But not from a true influence perspective, IMO.
But what Mack’s post shows and your point reiterates is that the social scores we see on Klout, Livefyre and other online tools don’t mean a whole hell of a lot. I use Livefyre because of the people behind the tool, because of the customer service, because of the goals of the platform — to facilitate conversation. It’s a goal I believe in. I also use it because people who I respect and follow — we can call them influencers — endorsed the tool and suggested I use it.
I don’t and won’t use Klout for all the same reasons. They are marketing to take advantage of the “I want points” mentality people have. And they are promoting an easy way out when it comes to tracking influencers — a task that requires consistent and constant research. I don’t believe in their goals and I don’t know hardly anyone I see as influential who has endorsed the tool.
@JGoldsborough @jennalanger Justin that’s funny because I have no idea what the points on Livefyre mean, and honestly i don’t want to know. When we start adding numbers and rankings, behavior changes as a result.
Is the current stalemate on the U.S. budget the result of congressmen and the president looking at social network feedback. Are they waiting until the public is decoded;u willing to accept the inevitable? @