What is it and why should I care: Klout

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What is it

Klout is a San Francisco based company that provides social media analytics that measures a user’s influence across their social network. The analysis is done on data collected from sites such as Twitter and Facebook and measures the size of a person’s network, the content created, and how other people interact with that content.[2] Klout recently added LinkedIn, Foursquare, and YouTube data to its algorithm. ~Wikipedia

It essentially looks at your data - followers, number of tweets, how often you are retweeted, etc and assigns you a number that is supposed to signify your influence in the the social space.

My current Klout is rated as 62 giving me the title of “broadcaster”.

Other stats it gives me are for true reach (mine is 1000)

Your True Reach is the number of people you influence. We filter out spam and bots and focus on the people who are acting on your content. When you post a message, these people tend to respond or share it. ~Klout

Amplification (mine is 37)

Your Amplification is how much you influence people. When you post a message, how many people respond to it or spread it further? If people often act upon your content you have a high Amplification score. ~Klout

Network influence (mine is 67)

Your Network indicates the influence of the people in your True Reach. How often do top Influencers share and respond to your content? When they do so, they are increasing your Network score.  ~Klout

Should you care?

There is a lot of controversy about Klout, it’s validity and it’s value.  Here is my personal take on it.

  • There are tools like Klout (there are many others as well) because there is an existing need to know who is influential online.

  • Measuring who is influential online is not a simple task.  It isn’t something that can be automated by taking the simple numbers that exists.  There are too many variables that need intelligent thought to decipher (to weed out spam, fake follows, value of retweets and sharing of information, etc).

  • There are better tools out there that measure things like influence but they are not affordable for individuals.

So, should I be paying attention to my Klout score?

Although Klout is anything but an infallible measurement tool, it does give people a general idea of where they fall in terms of influence and reach. When I think about my online friends who I think of as having quite similar influence and reach in the online world I find that their klout scores are fairly similar to mine.

Is it an exact science? No way.

Should it be discounted. I don’t think so.

Klout is not meant to be something that you are actively trying to increase.  When I see my klout score go up it means that I am doing what I really want to be doing well - providing useful information to the people that follow me.

When you say things that people find of value online, they reply to you or they forward that information on. That increases your klout.  That may not have been the goal (in fact one would assume it wasn’t the goal) but it is a nice way to see if people care what you have to say.

Ultimately I don’t think people should be spending a lot of time worrying about Klout. Mine went down this summer since I spent less time online being with my kids and being sick. I’m ok with that. Am I happy to see it creeping back up? Sure thing, it means I’m saying useful things again and people are paying attention. That’s nice to see.

What about you - do you pay attention to your klout score? Do you think it’s a valuable measurement tool?

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