Everyone’s fired up about Klout – the site that ranks individuals on their influence and reach throughout social media networks. How does Klout measure that? They’re not telling. And despite an outcry from many demanding to know how scores are calculated, Klout remains tight lipped. And why shouldn’t they? Give away the recipe for the secret sauce and what do they have left?
Klout scores individuals. It provides badges for individuals to display their score. Through +K it allows others to give cred to individuals on various topics. Does Klout do this to make us feel warm and fuzzy? Or if you’re in the “Klout sucks camp” do you think they do this to piss us off? The misnomer is Klout scores are for the benefit of the individual. While some tout high scores as proof of their social media prowess, Klout really doesn’t care about pumping up egos. What really jazzes them is what can be done with all this data on the back end.
Consider the Nielson Ratings. Although inherently flawed as an audience measurement system, it has become the de facto standard of measurement in the television industry. The advertising world uses Nielson data to better target their audiences. I submit that Klout is the 21st Century version of the Nielsons, and you and I are the TV shows they’re rating.
Klout measures influence, and sells the data to companies wanting to engage with individuals that wield it. Those wearing crowns of influence are rewarded by brands seeking their attention (and retweets and likes and shares and mentions). Just like a high school clique, some on the outside looking in are usually quick to criticize all the while secretly desiring to join their ranks.