Since Klout announced that it was changing its algorithm for measuring influence in online engagement, there have been a lot of unhappy people.
Klout intended these changes to be more accurate and transparent, whilst measuring influence in a much more detailed way.
Unfortunately, several scores went down due to the new weighting. People were not happy about the lowering of their scores, and many complained that the drop in scores negatively impacted their online reputation.
Influence is a hard thing to measure. One tweet can be re-broadcast again and again, different messages have different reach, and actions taken upon your messages can vary by audience and time of day. It all depends on how you position the initial message, and how your connections perceive it.
What Klout has tried to do is create a standard for influence.
Millions of people use Klout to measure themselves against their peers. Klout measures your activities across several different platforms such as Facebook, Google+ and WordPress. It then works out the true reach of your messages, amplification, and your influence score.
Analysing 2.7 billion pieces of content and connections every day is a significant amount of data to crunch. There must be some real value in using this amount of data to measure how influential you are, surely?
Should a tool like Klout, or its competitor PROskore be used inside organisations? As a manager, would you use Klout to measure Klout scores within members of your team or division? With Klout, would you really know whether your team is hitting the spot and really influencing the right people?
It isn't about the size of your network. It is about what you do with your network. It's about how the people you influence act upon your messages.
Like other peer tools, data can also be open to manipulation.
Digg has suffered from group voting in the past. Groups can vote on articles to promote them higher up the listing. Klout also encourages others in your network to give you a 'K+' score and vote on your 'speciality'.
This peer voting appears to skew your influence scores and the tweet you see can encourage you to vote too. Klout also uses data from other platforms such as Facebook. This data can highlight new people you influence who may not already be on Klout -- even young adults who don't use Twitter and have a private profile on Facebook.
Perhaps this adjustment in the way that Klout finds and measures people is because Klout needs to justify its funding from venture capitalists. If so, Klout needs to extend its own reach and get more signups. Klout perks give marketers the opportunity to give influencers gifts, tokens and incentives for spreading the word.
Perks, although generally not available to us here in the UK, appear to be a way for brands to market their products. Individuals with a high Klout score might then mention those brands to their own networks.
Do you think that Klout is suitable for measuring team influence in the enterprise? Would you use it to measure performance across teams at your company? Do you measure your team? Do you respect the results that you get in your monthly reports or do you discount them?
After all, Klout is just another game, isn't it?