As more and more persons flock to social networking sites to establish and grow their online brand as leaders in their respective fields and connect with their customer base, online influence and its measurement has become a widely discussed topic in the blogosphere. Klout , one of the most popular measurement tools recently released a Chrome extension which allows the Twitter user to see the Klout score of everyone in the user’s timeline.
So What ‘Exactly’ Is Your Klout Score?
Klout is the measurement of your overall online influence and ranges from a minimum of 1 to a maximum of 100. Klout bases your score on the ability to drive action such as clicks, comments, tweets, replies etc. within your community.
Greater interaction equates to greater influence and hence a higher Klout score.
How Does It Work?
Klout is based on three pillars:
1) True Reach which measures the number of persons listening to you
2) Amplification which is the likelihood that your content will be acted upon, whether tweeted, commented, liked and
3) Network Influence focuses on the Klout scores of your engaged audience. How significant is that persons retweeting you.
Twitter and Klout: A Distraction?
On reading about the integration of Klout in the Twitter timeline I of course jumped and added the extension and was amazed at how I was able to assess everyone in my timeline in a glance. Or could I? My first observation was that having Klout scores so easily accessible can be pretty overwhelming as one can get caught up in the numbers whizzing by as opposed to what is being shared. Take note that this may be attributed to the fact that I am easily distracted and therefore may not affect the majority of you whom I am sure are more focused.
Then I found myself wondering about those persons who had no Klout score at all. Why is that? Hadn’t they been evaluated by Klout? Does that mean that they have lower than a Klout Score of 1? Oh the questions, my mind was working overtime.
True Determinant of Quality?
With the integration of Klout in our timeline will this now become the defining determinant of whom we add to our communities. Does a lower Klout score mean that persons will be automatically disqualified? I know most of you will be saying of course not but an even larger portion of you are aware from experience that in Twitterville we are sometimes blinded by the bright lights and the numbers; bigger twitter followings, loads of lists, and so why would high Klout scores be any different.
Most notable was the individuals using Twitter as their public phone booth @replying each other Ad nauseam. Don’t get me wrong, conversation is awesome after all it’s about being social but there needs to be limits. In addition to the continuous @replying, some were also guilty of posting some rather banal tweets yet Klout assigns these accounts relatively high scores I presume, due to the level of chatter which I’m sure is there MO on other networks. While others actually disseminating useful content but less concerned with the interaction seemed to be penalized.
Klout Needs Work
As was highlighted on Pushing Social measurement is part in parcel of accountability and therefore measurement tools do have considerable merit and cannot be ignored if we wish to strive for success. However, it is important that we understand the limitations of these systems and do not blindly embrace their use. Klout’s algorithm can be seen as a work in progress and may incorrectly assess a person’s influence or value but there is still value to the tool.
Having a Klout score available in your twitter timeline can be distracting however it should not be substituted in place of due diligence, take some time to get to know both the potential and the current members of your network.
Have you added the Chrome extension? Will Klout scores impact on how you choose whom to follow or interact with in your community on Twitter?