SI Social: Klout Adds Metrics In Bid For Actual Relevance

August 15th, 2012 by Colette Bennett

I won’t mince words; I’ve been pissed off about the very existence of Klout since day one. It’s clearly a site that shamelessly uses gameification tactics to make people think their score is something worth worrying about. Their motto is “The Standard for Influence.” Who says, buckaroo? You? This is the kind of thing that makes me ornery with the entire internet.

And yet, I know just as well that people love being told what they’re worth, and Klout clearly gets how to take advantage of that. For instance, my own Klout page tells me I am influential on a series of topics, including video games, journalism, cats, and … bacon. I might have written an article or two about some of those topics, but I can tell you with assurance that I am not the bacon expert Klout makes me out to be.

On the next page, I’m told I’m a “Broadcaster,” and that the content I put out into the internet-ether spreads like “wildfire.” Mind you, people at half my Klout score have titles like “Networker” and “Conversationalist.” Even the lowest ranking titles are “Explorer” and “Observer.” There’s no such thing as a negative title, in other words. It’s self-gratification, pure and simple, and Klout is more than happy to supply you with it. I could go into the details, but it’s already been done very well, and you may as well read for yourself about why Klout has been considered a sham by many users.

At least, until now. The social media service announced a redesign that would add more data and therefore more accuracy, which could majorly turn the tables and give the service more legitimacy. There will also be an addition called “Moments,” which will highlight your recent social media activity and show off the things you said that had the most overall impact. That has more of the ring to it that Timeline had when it was first announced, playing on the sentimental aspect to great success. But for Klout, I think the real chance at success is about hard numbers. The exact specifications for what goes into the score is explained here.¬†Wikipedia has been added to the sphere of influence, as well as more information from Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

I have to admit, what I’m seeing here is making me feel that if these changes are implemented right, I may be able to start taking Klout seriously. And honestly, I’d like that chance. While we have ways to measure our ranking on individual social media outlets, we have no real way to gauge overall topical reach, and Klout could have the capability to do that. But if I keep seeing that topics I am influential on are stuff like “bacon” and “Stevie Wonder,” I’m not going to be so assured. As these changes roll out, it remains to be seen whether they’ll be effective metrics or just more of the same.

What do you think of Klout? Will these changes make a significant difference in the way you use and evaluate the service?