If you work within the social media world, you know all about Klout. For those of you who don’t use Twitter, Facebook, or some other form of social media, Klout refers to the influence that you (as a Twitter user) have on other people, how relevant you are in your field, and a bunch of other measures.
When all of these measures are tallied up, the result is your Klout score. Now, it used to be that Klout was very important. A high Klout score meant that a media user was doing her job right. Being handed a low Klout score often meant scrambling to increase this score.
All was well within the Klout world until the powers that be at Klout (Joe Fernandez) changed the way that Klout scores are tallied. According to Klout reps, algorithm changes (and some other mumbo-jumbo) have resulted in Klout score changes. As you might imagine, this has caused a number of people with high Klout scores to panic – imagine if your Klout score (that you’ve been working hard on) dropped from 80 to 40 overnight.
What Does Klout Really Mean?
Sure, it’s easy to panic when the social networking pull you thought you had is yanked from under your feet. Yet, this new announcement by Klout should also cause you to stop and think for a moment. Think about this: what does your Klout score really mean? Is it really important? If you look at all of the criticism surrounding Klout in the past, you’ll quickly realize that Klout’s “algorithms” are based upon, well, not much.
The fact is that Klout can’t offer up any real explanation as to how these scores are ascertained. If you mention a topic a number of times, you might become an expert on that topic. If you speak with people who have high Klout scores, gain retweets, and get a lot of comments, your score may increase. People can hand you additional Klout points and you can give others Klout points. If this sounds like a grown-up, social networking version of a popularity contest, it is. So, why are all the social media gurus of the world up in arms about Klout’s new rules?
Do People Need Klout?
People who network for a living need to show their boss something. Those who network for fun need validation. Klout provides both of these things to people who need to produce a score, a number, a reason for doing what they do – for spending hours networking and getting paid for it. If someone’s Klout score slips overnight, that person can no longer justify the work that they’ve put into a social media campaign.
Yet, this number means nothing. This is what some people are coming to realize, and it’s why the hashtag #occupyklout has appeared on Twitter. If you’re up to date with current politics, you’ll understand the “occupy” bit, but the fact behind the joke is that people are finally tiring of Klout.
Will Klout become a thing of the past? If you head to the site or any article written about the Klout debacle, you’ll see that many people are up in arms about the Klout algorithm changes. “Change it back!” people are stating. Is Klout no longer necessary? Maybe not the new Klout, but it seems to be that the social media world wants their respective Klout scores to return to their former glory. To join the fight, send out an #occupyklout tweet.