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Who the Klout Cares?

Posted on Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012 by Print This Post Print This Post

Categories - Featured, News, Social Media

According to all the techy blogs on my Twitter feed, Klout has made some improvements to their algorithm about relevancy…in order to remain relevant. Isn’t it ironic?

But seriously, who the heck is actively using Klout for anything real? Once in a blue moon a Klout email will find me in just the right moment of boredom to peak curiosity. I open the overly enthusiastic copy-laden message and click the link to check in on how successful I am as an online persona.

(This is an old email. I really am a 60 now!)

Prompted by the recent newsworthy updates, I went to Klout to check out my score. 60! My influence is 60.

Sixty what? I don’t know, but apparently I am very influential in the topics of moms, Facebook, and Journalism. This seems so arbitrary, right?


I am also skeptical of their own wonky version of the Meyers Briggs test that labels me as a “Broadcaster.” (Can you tell that I have never really explored Klout thoroughly prior to writing this?) Hey Klout! I am focused and somewhat consistent too. Also, I thought I was creating?? I am so confused! What does it all mean? This literally tells me nothing about my online behavior.

Sure these new updates embrace more variables in the algorithm, including Facebook subscribers, +K received, and apparently the algorithm is a sponge for learning behaviors. (Good. Take the time to know me first dude!) Klout now pulls real-world influence data from sources like Wikipedia, LinkedIn titles and +K received on Klout, which are important, seeing as a person might be extremely influential, but not within the narrow parameters of Klout. This was exactly the case with Bieber vs. Obama. Until the recent changes, Klout’s algorithm deemed tweeny pop sensation Justin Bieber to hold more online influence than our nation’s president. Something ain’t checking out.

Another feature promised is something called, “Moments,” which will cull and timeline all your posts and check-ins from the previous ninety-days. This is intended to give you a deeper understanding of your true reach, and an incentive to check back in with Klout more often, which if I am any indicator, is an issue.

I understand how Klout works, but honestly I am having a hard time seeing its value. I have heard the stories about employers using Klout scores as interview criteria, which just seems silly and not telltale of much. And I have also read about retail and hospitality services using the scores as a means to rank customer communication not in the order they were received, but in order of social influence and importance.

Being a marketer myself, I suppose I can see the advantages of Klout from that perspective. It’s an easy way to target the right influential people. But as it stands, not enough people use the damn thing to play fairly, and until Klout becomes a household name in states across the country, this will remain a shady way to do business.

Right now Klout scores are just numbers with little weight behind them. Sure, they are based on a mathematical equation, but unless everyone decides it’s important, it is meaningless. But there is still something more to Klout’s success than a dramatic increase in user adoption, and that’s search engine approval.

Unless Klout scores become major ranking factors with search engines, then what’s the point? Maybe I am way off base. What do you guys think?

About Heather Sundell

Heather has five years of experience in online and offline marketing. She graduated from The University of Southern California with a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and absolutely no idea how USC football works. An aspiring cyclist, blogger, and cheese enthusiast, she is currently honing her Gen Y skills by doing all three at once.

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2 Responses to “Who the Klout Cares?”

  1. Stacie says:

    Great post Heather! Now, I know what Klout is because, and I’m being totally serious, this is the first I’m hearing about it.

  2. Glad I could shed some light for you. I don’t understand how this company is in business!!


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