Is Klout the interwebz’ new bad boy? Next time you want to inspire a healthy debate in a social media crowd, mention Klout. No one likes Klout but everyone knows their Klout scores.
In a world, both virtual and real, where signal-to-noise is invariably tipped in favor of noise, along comes Klout, Peer Index and other social intelligience software to measure your influence in the topics you speak about online. Klout advertises itself as “the standard for influence,” a pretty heady claim. “Everyone’s got Klout, ” they say, “Discover Yours!” It’s true, everyone does have a Klout score, unless they’ve fought to remove it. Therein lies the problem. Klout’s algorhithm has recently changed, to the dismay of many whose scores went way down. They claimed that it is now super accurate, begging the question of how inaccurate was it before?
As you may surmise, I do have concerns about Klout scores and any scores that essentially measure noise over signal. The measurement itself is not in itself evil. It certainly is motivational, as in, ”Yikes! My Klout score just went down.” I’ll have to Tweet a lot to bring it back up.” The questions raised in my mind are:
- What is Klout really measuring? And should it allow for some time “off the grid?”
- Should employers rely on Klout scores (and Twitter followers, Facebook fans, etc.) when hiring social media professionals?
- Are we as a social media community promoting noise over signal? Are we following people because lots of other people do or because they have something important to say?
- Are we losing our ability to think for ourself? Must we always follow the pack?
- Do the real thought leaders have time to post enough content to have a super high Klout score or are they busy influencing others by their actions instead?
- Does volume preclude content? Do those who shout the loudest get the most attention?
- And whatever happened to privacy? It was important there for awhile, I seem to recall. Seriously, Klout and others like them, seem to be begging for some privacy scrutiny.
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