I Don’t Care About Klout – Do You?

I’m yawning. So is the tiger inside me!

The last few weeks have been crazy in the social media world. I’ve been hearing the influence word far more often and frequently than I would like.

It was this over-abundant use of the word that prompted me to write a couple of posts here in the last two weeks: (Trust + Influence) Exceeds (Fame + Power) In Social Media and Social Media Fame And Influence Revisited.

It looks to me like the concept of measuring influence in social media using the Klout score is picking up. I noticed this when HootSuite rolled out Klout integration in their latest release this week. I love HootSuite – and I have been using the Filter By Influence feature that HootSuite offers. I spoke about this in Twitter Tools: HootSuite Rocks – The First Impressions last week.

So why am I being a hypocrite and claiming that I don’t care about Klout?

I really don’t care about Klout score.

To me, influence is much more than just a number. Some of people who have had the biggest influence on me don’t even understand what social media is – or know about Facebook and Twitter. I’m sure that is the case with most of us – we can place our fingers on at least one person each, who continues to influence us in a big way and yet cannot relate to social media.

Does that stop us getting influenced by these influencers? Their Klout score would be a perfect 0. Heck, no! That would be ridiculous.

So what it Klout score anyway? Here’s a quick summary right from the horse’s mouth – er – from the Klout website:

The Klout Score is the measurement of your overall online influence. The scores range from 0 to 100 with higher scores representing a wider and stronger sphere of influence. Klout uses over 25 variables to measure True Reach, Amplification Probability, and Network Score. The size of the sphere is calculated by measuring True Reach (engaged followers and friends vs. spam bots, dead accounts, etc.). Amplification Probability is the likelihood that messages will generate retweets or spark a conversation. If the user’s engaged followers are highly influential, they’ll have a high Network Score.

I decided to do a quick research into the Klout score of some key bloggers who influence and inspire me. Here’s where they stand:

Does that mean Mike CJ influences me half as much as Darren Rowse? Or does it mean that anyone with a Klout score higher than mine can come and bulldoze their way through me? Sounds hilarious, doesn’t it?

Influence isn’t a point in time – a cut off number about which everyone is good to own my soul. To me, influence is much more than just a number. Its about the authenticity, realness – and the moments that take my breath away.

Really, influence cannot be measured because it also is so very subjective. One person’s influence can be another person’s turn off. And we need to respect both perspectives to keep the equation in balance.

As Susan Murphy said in her post, Why Are We So Hung Up On Influence, a couple of days ago –

How about we forget about all these ridiculous numbering schemes? How about we stop confusing influence with being one of the popular kids?

How about we focus on building up our own communities, with our own people, and our own set of influencers who are actually influential, instead of just being the ones with the biggest following, or the loudest voice? Yes, it will take time. Yes, it will take work. But ultimately, everyone will be better off, don’t you think?

I couldn’t agree more.

Coming back to me, so why I am using the Filter By Influence feature in HootSuite? It’s the same reason why we all look at the number of readers or the number of subscribers that show up on a lot of RSS feeds these days. We look for social proof. I’m no exception – I too look for social proof – especially to make sure I am not selling my soul to the devil.

Is that the only thing I am look for? Absolutely not! That’s the last thing in fact – and as I said at the beginning of this post, my common sense prevails at the end of the day. When I find someone that I just need to connect with, I really don’t care about Klout score.

Come on – It’s only a number. Like other numbers, it isn’t a be all and end all of life – or anything else in fact.

What do you think?

(Image Credit: Tambako The Jaguar http://www.flickr.com/photos/tambako/)

One Response to I Don’t Care About Klout – Do You?
  1. Danny Brown
    Twitter: DannyBrown
    September 11, 2010 | 6:35 am

    Hey ther Kapil,

    The very fact that Klout only gives you a score of 5 is the proof that any influence system – Klout, Grader, etc – is nothing but a fun toy.

    To me, influence is how you instill reactions and actions; not how you outscore peers. So, yeah, I agree with you – Klout is crap. 🙂
    Danny Brown recently posted… Why Service Wins Every Time