So let me ask you a question. Do you know who President Barack Obama is? Probably. Do you know he has a Klout influence score of 86?
Next question, do you know who Robert Scoble is? He has a Klout influence score of 88.
Of these two people, who do you think would be considered more influential my anyone engaging online?
According to their Klout scores, Robert Scoble would be considered more influential than President Obama because Scoble has a higher Klout score than President Obama.
In previous articles, I discussed why services like Klout are not good at actually measuring social media influence and I used a similar example that showed that Klout indicated that Charlie Sheen was more influential than Oprah. Yet, even after seeing real-life examples of how poor Klout actually is at influence comparisons, people still look to Klout as their indicator of social media success. They see it as their holy grail for measuring their popularity. They complain when it goes down. Yet, when asked, they have no idea what caused it to decrease.
So how does Klout explain the disparities of influence? With statements like these from their blog:
The Klout Score doesn’t mean that Robert Scoble is more influential in the world than Obama. It currently means that Mr. Scoble is using social media more effectively to drive more actions from his networks.
Wait…so you mean Klout doesn’t actually measure social media influence? It only measures how effectively someone is at leveraging social media channels? Well DUH!! I’ve been saying that all along…and I’m fine with that. But if the folks at Klout now understand that they don’t measure influence, then they need to stop saying that they do!
While I gave up on Klout a long time ago as a measurement of anything useful, there are still those that pout about Klout every time their score changes. Since we really have no idea as to what makes a positive or negative impact on Klout score, I’m not sure why anyone would actually care about their Klout score.
And it’s not just the lack of transparency about what makes up a Klout score, it’s the fact that Klout is apparently gaming the system by auto-creating profiles for people (including minors) and appears to be reluctant to let anyone leave their service. Just try deleting your Klout profile and see if the profile actually disappears from the site. Several well known social media influencers have tried to unsuccessfully delete their Klout profiles with little success.
So…do you still care about Klout? Do you use it as a measure of how effective you are in the social space? I’d be very curious to hear why you think Klout is valuable and why anyone should consider using it as their measure of social media influence. And arguments that “there’s nothing better” aren’t sufficient.