That’s not a typo in the headline – I’ve been looking at my Klout rating and wondering not what to do to improve it – my score of 76 is apparently respectable – but whether it matters.
I opened the website today and it congratulated me on the subjects on which it considered me an expert, including “accounting”. I haven’t told my accountant; given my record keeping skills and his knowledge of them I’m worried he’d hurt himself falling off his chair.
What Klout’s about
It all seems a bit random – you might as well throw some dice, write the number down and decide that’s your score. And yet there’s an emerging science behind this.
For the uninitiated, Klout is a business that assesses how “influential” you are on social media. It takes your Twitter feed, your Facebook interactions and several other networks such as LinkedIn into account, and gives you a score out of 100.
I’ve heard of people using it as an actual measure of something. For example, I once ran a day as MC at the Social Media World Forum in which a speaker I’d just introduced announced he’d reserved the first two rows of seats for people with a Klout score of 60 or above, and he read their names out.
You’ve never seen a more embarrassed bunch skulking towards the “best” seats – first because they didn’t want to look flash, second because if that was how the speaker began they didn’t know how he was going to continue, and being in the first two rows would make it difficult to slip out again later.
Clumsy use aside, I’ve heard of speaker agencies checking someone’s Klout score before booking them. I’ve heard of people putting their Klout score on their website. There are people who think this thing matters.
I just don’t get how something that fails to ask anything specific can offer a meaningful answer.
When I first wrote “This Is Social Media” I did a few speaking gigs at which I’d point to my own Klout score and also some of the areas in which it had decided I was an expert. One of these was “Muse Records”. As an “expert” I found I had to Google and find out what Muse Records actually was: it turned out it was a specialist jazz label from the early 1970s. It actually sounds rather good but how was I an expert when I’d never heard of it?
This morning, finding that I was an expert in accounting cemented my impression of this rather general measuring tool. Apparently the answer to “is Guy influential”? is “76” and the topics on which I’m an “expert” include those I outsource to someone else, in this case an accountant, because I know how long it would take me otherwise.
The principle, taking someone’s actual output rather than their claims, and therefore arriving at an objective view of what they’ve achieved rather than how they market themselves, is sound. When you can ask Klout or something like it a sensible question about me – “Can Guy write”, “Is Guy any good at media training” or something, that’ll be useful. Without context I’ll continue to query the value of “Is Guy influential” – what does everyone else think?