Do You Pout About Klout? What’s The Point?

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.

Seriously? Yes…Seriously!

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!

Klout proclaims to measure social media influence, yet then also says that they don't

If you don't measure social media influence, stop saying you 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.

Pouting about Klout doesn't really have any effect, since Klout doesn't let us know how to positively impact it

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.

  • Firdaus Alias (@FirdausAlias)

    Do You Pout About Klout? What’s The Point? via @socmedsean

  • Amy Stewart (@AmyLynnStewart) (@AmyLynnStewart)

    Do You Pout About Klout? What’s The Point? via @socmedsean

  • MantisPulseAnalytics (@mantispulse)

    Do You Pout About Klout? What’s The Point? –

  • Tom McCann (@Thomcas)

    Simple pleasures. Here’s a nice, simple post having a dig a Klout: Do You Pout About Klout? What’s The Point?

  • Alex Hall (@devseo) (@devseo)

    Do You Pout About Klout? What’s The Point? – #socialmedia

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  • Marsha S. Haneiph

    I haven’t bothered with it, and don’t intend to.

  • Joel Milne

    I was getting a newsletter for awhile from a social media expert (self-proclaimed) who wanted to sell me some courses and they were pretty hyped about Klout. So I challenged them to explain why Klout is really important, aside from the vague explanation in their emails. Bottom-line, is the answer did not impress me. Sure I think people use social media for research, and having a strong presence on social networks can help you… but people make that determination through seeing your activity, viewing key numbers on various sites like Facebook… not through some seemingly arbitrary scoring system. And to many reports suggest that the Klout scoring system just doesn’t really work.

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  • Jim

    Great article Sean.
    The main game is to keep focus on the main game – and that should be providing great service to your clients / supporters. Not on whether your Klout score is up or down for the day.

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