There has been much ado in the social media world the past few weeks about Klout, the service that assigns “scores” to individuals in an attempt to determine who is “truly” influential in the online world. In theory, this seems like it could be a good idea. People (and companies) want to quickly search for and identify those on social media who they feel are most worthy of time and attention.
Like others, I was intrigued by the idea when the service launched and opted-in to participate. I linked my accounts and watched my Klout score fluctuate over time – never really sure how it was being impacted – other than it seemed a lot or RTs of my favorite quotes seemed to lift it a bit. Klout recently decided to change its algorithm (without notifying users in advance) and there has been considerable backlash since.
First, many people (including me) were caught off-guard by the change – Klout made no effort in advance to proactively notify users it was making this change. It claimed the new computation would “more accurately” reflect users influence than previous scores. To me, this immediately raises a flag because Klout seems to be admitting up front: “our last algorithm wasn’t very good.” And yet, Klout had no problem heavily touting itself as a leading influence measurement tool. If they’re admitting they didn’t get it right before, how are we to believe this new version is indeed better? Its not like this is an area that can be tested or validated by another outside party. So that is concerning.
Other social media professionals have written about their own decisions to delete their Klout account, including this excellent post by Pam Moore. If you participate in social media and are wondering about Klout, I encourage you to do your own research and reach your own conclusion.
In my case I just decided that there is no real added-value from Klout – and its stand on privacy issues (and lack of transparency) were enough for me to leave it.
I have to say that I’m a bit surprised that since deleting my account there has been a bit of a feeling of relief. I no longer think or worry about Klout scores or how my tweets/posts might impact my score. I’m more focused on using social media in a way that is most meaningful to me (not a 3rd party). That is, sharing information I find interesting and engaging in conversions with people I want to (based on their interests and personality – not their Klout scores).
What’s your take?
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