Klout Craziness

Up, down, and all-around: If it wasn't for that fact that Klout's social networking measurements actually mattered, we could just ignore its latest scoring gyrations, but they do.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Klout Score Craziness

Klout Score Craziness

I know many people think Klout, the social network reputation measurement service, is utter nonsense or even evil. Too bad. Klout does matter. Businesses may give you work or a job depending on your Klout score. You may find that troubling. Deal with it. What I find far more troubling is that Klout scores can bounce up and down like hyperactive five-years old on a trampoline.

What the heck is your social network reputation you ask? According to Esther Schindler, co-author of the forthcoming book, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Twitter Marketing, while "No one can comfortably compare how important one person is compared to another," the bottom line is that "some people can have more of an impact on your company than can others and that's why services have sprung up to measure social media influence. " Klout isn't the only company that tries to measure this--PeerIndex and TweetGrader do as well-but it's the most important of them.

I used to think Klout was dumb... and then an editor who was trying to talk me into writing a book wanted to know what my Klout score was. Since then I've talked to others and they tell me that their would-be employers wanted to see high Klout scores before giving them a job or contract. So, while you may doubt Klout's value, your potential employers do care about your Klout score.

And, it's not just people who might hire you or pay you for your services. Saleforce.com, the online Customer Relationship Management (CRM) company, has just released a new version of its Radian6 marketing program which uses Klout to help companies decide how to react to your calls and inquiries. So, if you were to call say AAA, GE, or UPS--all Radian6 customers--the kind of service you get will be influenced by your Klout score. Welcome to 2011, where social networking matters in ways you never could have imagined when you first said you liked Coldplay or U2 on MySpace.

So it is that I'm really unhappy to see Klout constantly changing its metrics. In the last few months my score has been as high as 69--almost celebrity range!--to 54. This hasn't been because I've been doing anything different on my favorite social networks--Google+, Facebook, and Twitter. No, it has everything to do with Klout changing its ranking algorithms.

I know they need to work out their metrics, but I'm getting as tired of these constant shifts. I feel as annoyed as a company CEO or marketing executive watching their business' Web site Google PageRank run up and down on a roller-coaster.

First, my score plummeted like a rock with the October update, which was meant to produce a more accurate and transparent Klout score. Then, it bounced up when Klout started measuring Google+ activity. Since I'm very active on Google+ that was nice news.

But, then on November 30, Klout announced "Our Google+ data collector encountered an issue where it was not collecting new data for some accounts. We have resolved this issue and affected users will see an update to their Scores on 11/30. Some users will see an increase and some users will see a decrease as we take into account the new data and the distribution change."

Klout added that the average change would be on the order of +0.2951. Me? My score went down by 5.64. What the heck!?

Listen, for better or worse, Klout matters, and while I'd love to have a super high score, what I really want is just some stability in Klout's social networking metrics. I don't want to lose a potential contract just because of another "issue" which causes my score to spin downward in an instant. I don't think a little scoring consistency is that much to ask for!

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