I’m a big fan of social analytics and actionable data. What you are about to read is a discussion regarding Klout and its service of providing influence scores. This conversation (took place via Twitter on 12/8/2010) is respectfully critical.
Before we jump to the conversation, I would like to make it known that I applaud Klout for taking on the challenge of attempting to develop a standard for what ?influence? is within social media (and possibly elsewhere). Klout?s tagline is ?the standard for influence,? which is a smart move on their part, but I am on the fence as to if this is something that is needed in the industry.
Objectives and goals determine which metrics are the success metrics for any initiative we undertake, but analyzing data is a task that many do not have the resources for and/or do not have the willingness to do. With that said, many businesses do find Klout to be quite valuable, and I completely understand integration of Klout for various purposes.
Hence, the idea exists that we can have a tool do the work for us in a manner that outputs a single score so that we can see instantaneously how influential a person/brand really is. The idea is a great idea, but here?s the bad news: It doesn?t work like that.
The idea of combining qualitative and quantitative data from various sources (social networks) that serve different purposes for the individuals who are active on the networks in order to achieve one ?influence score? is a task that I believe cannot be achieved. As you can see, the idea of combining unlike data from unlike sources (social networks, for this case) is flawed in itself.
At the same time, Klout is making a statement that their proprietary algorithm is the be-all-end-all for gauging influence. If this were not the case, the algorithm would be made public so that others could learn from and build upon the Klout methodology.
You?ll note in the conversation below that I did make an argument regarding ?what? can be influential. After thinking further, I am not so sure that an inanimate object cannot be influential (you?ll see what I mean in the conversation). I mean, this is what traditional marketing is all about, right (billboards, flyers, TV commercials, ads, etc.)?
I would like to make it known that Klout did reach out to me via DM after the conversation to see if there was anything I would like to email them about. I did not contact Klout at that time. However, if Klout does indeed happen upon this article, I do appreciate the opportunity for Klout representatives to enlighten us.
Also, for the past few weeks, I have checked my Klout score about three times per week. My Klout score increased dramatically (about 20 points) when I added my Facebook account. Even though I have undoubtedly conversed with many more individuals during these weeks, my Klout score has remained somewhat consistent (within about 1 point of itself).
Klout has noted that the influence scores are updated at least once per day although changes to my score each day are minimal. Also, many of the metrics within my Klout score page have remained unchanged for months. This includes all data within the Influence Matrix and the Content Analysis. These data points are inaccurate. See my Klout score page at http://klout.com/prebynski.
Thank you to the following Tweeters for being involved in the conversation:
If I missed you, please let me know, and I will amend.
Sources noted within the conversation:
- Can Klout Really Measure Influence?
- Klout is broken
- Can you become influential on Twitter merely by Tweeting a lot?
Onto the conversation:
Thank you for reading the article and conversation. Your thoughts and additional insights are appreciated.