If you are not familiar with Klout and the issues being discussed right now let me see if I can boil it down to a simple paragraph.
Klout is a for profit company. They look at a social media user and by use of some analytics, they give that user a numerical score. They go further and generate a profile of influence for that user as they pertain to various topics both ‘being influenced by’ as well as ‘influencing others’. They then take the data they’ve created and apply that to a clients ad campaign. Hence the ‘for profit’ part.
That’s very very basic and I’m sure I left out some really critical parts but here’s the thing…
Klout doesn’t exist for you or me – they exist for the large corporations and businesses that hire them. When a ad large firm wants run a campaign and get their product in front of the right people they come to Klout. In theory, Klout can identify users who are most likely to be most influential on that particular product. Advertising is all about getting your message in front of the right people right? People have written and illustrated that Klout can be gamed, that Klout got the influence or score wrong and so on. They’ve made an argument as to why they’ve deleted their Klout accounts.
To me, and remember that this is just my opinion, I don’t care. If they get their own algorithm wrong they deliver faulty data to their clients and their clients get poor returns. It has little to do with me.
There’s been an explosion of rating systems and algorithms ranking everything and anything all around us. Google’s PageRank, Facebook EdgeRank, Tweetgrader, SEO, LIKE’s, +1’s and on and on.
These systems attempt to sort, refine and filter content in an effort to deliver the most relevant information to the parties involved. They get it right and they get it wrong. As an end user whether they do or don’t doesn’t much matter to me. Who should I contact at Google when I think the wrong adsense ads are shown on that next website? Where’s the number for Facebook that I can complain about EdgeRank? See where I’m going?
But here’s why I’m keeping my Klout, it’s the +K
Take the simple Poke in Facebook. It’s a friendly way to reach out to someone and give them a virtual pat on the back. It’s an online way of saying, “Hey, just thinking of you”. Write a post on your wall that people like and you might see a few likes from your friends. We see and do that all the time.
From the start Klout has said that the act of giving a +K would not influence either parties scores – so why do it? Giving or getting a +K is just like that. It’s a virtual pat on the back. For the same reason you would like a friends comment you can +K one of their topics on Klout. When you +K me, I get a notification. It’s true, the topics available to +K may be laser accurate or they may be way off base but I don’t care. I can pretty much find something to +K someone on.
When I do, guess what? That makes me feel all warm inside! That’s why I’m keeping my Klout!