Getting Clout Out of Klout: In Which Our Author Asks Why Should We Care?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

We've been mesmerized by Klout ever since all of us started using it at Re-Wired. Each of us has a Klout account, and each of us -- obviously -- has a different Klout score.

What I would like to argue here is that there are two strategies or ways in which people pursue Klout -- and these are, perhaps competing strategies.

We know that Klout is a rather vague assemblage of signals that create influence: Time on a social media networks + active engagement with differing levels of engaged and influential people on networks + messaging (actively clicked on links) + traffic numbers and much more.

But there are also incentives that get us to increase behavior in order to achieve this Klout. What I'd like to know is whether Klout disrupts not only the marketing and advertising model in the traditional sense, but if it is also disrupting the traditional -- though much newer -- social media conversation model.

Klout? Who Dat? 

The folks at Re-Wired do different things with media at different times. I think it's obvious looking at our scores. We can tell you that we understand that our behavior online is different so it makes sense that our Klout is different. Look at our profiles, and you can see we are involved in much smaller or greater numbers of networks relative to each other. 

Brian Tolle's Klout Score and Profile

Bob Moesta's Klout Score and Profile

Chris Spiek's Klout Score and Profile

Douglas Crets's Klout Score and Profile

How is Klout Measured? Should I Care?

With so many social platforms out there, and so many socially-engaged audiences out there consuming everyone's media, having an understanding of how influential one is means something these days. What it means is not exactly clear, since there are competing non-standardized standards.

The tendency is to look to Klout as the social media credit agency. It should be able to objectively tell us what makes someone have a lot of Klout. However, it's unclear.

Is it:

1. Working on a big media platform?

2. The conversation one has with other social media savvy people, in blog posts, tweets, Facebook posts, or images on Instagram?

3. Is Twitter more influential than Facebook?

4. Is it a signal vs. noise thing?

There is no clear determination and the Klout website does not tell us much. In a soon to be published interview, I ask Klout's CEO about this. I will link to it here, once I publish it later this weekend.

What Makes Me Want Klout? 

Now we're getting to the nitty-gritty. We really don't know the answer. It used to be our peers. But if the users of Klout are to be believed, now it's Perks.

Our Klout consumption is being driven by our need to be recognized by brands, which makes it different than our typical desire to be known within the social media ecosystem of our peers.  My behavior online -- if I am susceptible to such suggestion and intrigue -- will make me more open to being communicative and associating with people I don't know. I will be looking for people who have the same interests, and whether I know them or not, I will engage with them in order to "influence" them or be influenced by them.

This is the system of social currency in action.

So what kind of person do I have to be to influence, and to be the target of people who wish to be influenced by me?

Here are hints. Here is a list of the top ten most influential tech bloggers on Klout.
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