I recently discovered Klout, the social networking algorithm matrix popularity wormhole. Not only has it baffled me with its complex scoring system and wizardry, it’s also brought out my ugly, competitive side, as I check in daily to see if my score has risen, maintained or SHOCK HORROR, fallen.
So what is it? It’s a neat little site that calculates your influence online.
Why the hell would I need that? Well, for the majority of people just going about their daily business, you probably wouldn’t. It’s the sort of site you’d probably join because you’ve seen someone else join, tinker about for five minutes and then forget about. But for us social media junkies, marketers, publicists, self-proclaimed gurus and the criminally insane, it’s a cool little toy. Plus you can get ‘perks‘ for being a high scorer. Little gifts that are a bit of a pat on the head for being a professional spam vixen.
How does it work? I really still have no idea. I’m pretty sure it involves calculus, Harry Potter spells and some ancient allegorical chanting. They say that it’s linked to the social networks you use – so on Twitter it’s scoring retweets, mentions, interaction with your network. On Facebook it’s keeping an eye on mentions, likes, postings, comments and so on and so forth. Read about it here for a full, and proper explanation. (Says nothing about witchcraft but we all know it’s used….WE ALL KNOW, KLOUT!)
Being a social media junkie, and loving stats of ALL kinds, I signed up. My score initially skyrocketed to a rather respectable 68 and sat there happily, basking in its healthy state. I felt popular. My hair felt more shiny, my lips more plump. The birds seemed to sing louder in the trees outside. Life was good. I walked around outside knowing that people could tell I was a ’68’.
I researched Klout, like a good social media addict should, and realised 68 is good score, a solid score. But I wanted more. I knew I could get to 70. So I pushed and I strategised. My content output went up, my interaction went up, I engaged with people and slowly it crept. I hit 70. I felt good about myself. I realised that Klout was actually making me better at online interaction but in doing so, I was practically exhausting myself. And here in lies the fundamental problem. It’s a paradoxical wormhole that if explored too much can turn your brain into liquid nitrogen.
Before you know it, you are tweeting and updating and writing and posting pictures of cats, cats with hats, cats on mats, cats standing up, cats looking grumpy. Because clearly the Klout team have included a CAT algorithm and MOAR CATS means MOAR POINTS. (Or maybe people just like pictures of cats, so your score goes up, but I’m choosing to believe that Klout has an inbuilt cat calculator).
Some online ‘gurus’ spam the hell out of the networks, not really thinking about their content or how creative it is, spewing out tweets, retweets of nothingness, links to more links to endless links to entire blogs about nothing (at least so far in this blog we’ve covered wormholes, cats and nitrogen!), hoping to get their Klout scores up. Thinking that it matters.
Does it matter? Not really. In the grand scheme of things Klout is a sexy little site, fun for a while but not really a site that is ever going to mean much until it starts to look at the content in more depth, how creative and unique the content is, rather than the number of tweets, retweets and connections made. Once Klout starts to measure content in an in-depth manner, and I believe if the site keeps evolving that it will, but once it does, it’ll be something really special. Something sexier. Something that makes you feel as if you are being listened to, not just judged on how much spam you can generate.
For now, I’ll keep trying to engage meaningful conversations across the networks, I’ll keep posting pictures of cats, I’ll keep trying to provide content that is both informative, fun and with purpose. And, because I’m addicted, I’ll keep finding new ways to keep my Klout score bouncing up the league tables. You’ll find me here, feel free to say hello, drop me ‘K’ or engage with me on one of the social networks.
If you want to check out Klout, do not pass go, do not collect £200 but move immediately to here.
Not convinced with my ‘Cat Algorithm’ method? Here are some more articles about KLOUT to check out.
Wired.Com – What Your Klout Score Really Means
Uncrunched – Why I Changed My Mind on Klout and Invested
Business Week – Klout. Controversial Influence Quantifier, Revamps its scores