Klout: Necessary evil or social media plague?


Preface: Unlike many folks, I don’t think Klout is an evil force set to destroy the social media universe. What I’ve always thought about Klout is akin to how I feel about the SATs: that it’s not a great form of measurement, but it’s basically the only standard of measurement we’ve got (okay there’s Kred and PeerIndex, but they’re just not nearly as prevalent). Old Klout had many, many flaws: perceived accuracy, relevancy, and secrecy about it’s algorithm. That being said, if you were fairly active on a few of the major social networks, you could almost guarantee a score over 35 or so. A score below that was a signal that you were not a frequent social media user. 

bitly disqus klout

So this is one of the more interesting about Klout’s revamp. I’ve always thought that one of old Klout’s biggest flaws was that it didn’t include click through data as one of it’s influence levers. I’ve found that what folks will retweet and share is VERY different than what they will click on (yes, I’m watching you…). All of which makes the upcoming bitly integration very interesting. If Klout starts to weight clicks, it starts to factor in influence signals that are not necessarily public (such as shares or replies).

The disqus integration could be considered another influence signal that’s more heavily weighted toward quality, not quantity.  Ostensibly that metric will take into account number of comments (rewarding community participation) and number of likes (rewarding others’ endorsements of your content).

All in all the most interesting development will be Klout’s timeline, which will give users a glimpse into the algorithm at work. This is both a good and a bad thing: users will have a much better understanding (and presumably more trust) for the Klout algorithm. Of course once we get a peek under the hood, most of us will use that knowledge to our advantage: focusing on the actions that drive the highest scores.

Oddly enough, Klout’s secrecy about it’s algorithm could have preserved a bit of purity about it, even if the lack of clarity created distrust about the score itself. Since how it works is a bit of mystery, not many of us could have manufactured a high score. With a bit more knowhow comes the opportunity for more cunning.

What do you think?

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