What Klout’s Changes Mean For You

By Elissa Stern, of Dress With Courage

Last week, Klout stunned users by announcing big changes to its scoring algorithm. Accordingto Klout, these changes represent the biggest step forward in accuracy, transparency and ourtechnology in Klout’s history. The changes, earlier described by Klout CEO Joe Fernandez asa “the biggest improvement to the Klout Score in our history” are likely to aggravate many who use the service.

 

A Klout score is based on how many people you influence, how much you influence them, and how influential they are. For those of you unfamiliar with Klout, it’s a sort of online ranking system that aims to determine how influential people are by measuring their social reach. It uses information from your Twitter feed, Facebook, LinkedIn and 35 other signals to give you an overall score and graphs that plot to show just how influential you are online. It is impossible to know how Klout generates its scores, because the company keeps their algorithms a secret for competitive reasons.

The biggest change to the Klout scoring algorithm is that is that scores will now be easier to understand. But unofficially, many have seen their scores fall – in some cases significantly. Although Klout denied that this would be the case on their blog, stating that “a majority of users will see their scores stay the same or go up but some users will see a drop,” many have seen their score decrease by as much as twenty points. The backlash was so bad that a #OccupyKlout movement got off the ground on Twitter.

 

Here’s the good news: A number that was formulated by an algorithm doesn't directly change how you're able to engage with others or the way people respond to you over social media. My score fell 9 full points from 67 to 58, which was enough to take me out of the “Pundit”category and classify me as a “Broadcaster” instead.

 

Truthfully, both of those categories are meaningless to me, because they don’t take into account whether I’m smart, or creative, or create content that affects my blog readers. My score is strictly a measurement of how strongly I am heard on certain social media sites. It doesn’t measure the relationships I have with my blog commenters. It doesn’t care about the informative YouTube tutorials I tweeted, because YouTube isn’t a category Klout chooses to measure my influence with. It ignores the real connections I have with people – the emails, phone calls, direct messages and face-to-face meet-ups. Klout scores are only important if you decide that a large arbitrary figure has anythingto do with how relevant or successful you really are.

While Klout might still be valuable to small business owners eager to promote their services,and those who make quick judgments of people who produce online content, it isn’t theonly measurement of connection. Focus more on responding to blog comments, community meet-ups, and email communication, rather than an arbitrary number. And don’t let a number define your social media presence.

You can also follow Elissa on Twitter here.

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14 Responses

  1. Anna

    I just started using Klout and I’m less than pleased with my score. And even thought I’m glad to know that Klout is really just an arbitrary number, I still hope I can continue to raise my Klout score.

    Great article though!

    Reply
    • Suze

      Agreed. I adore that Elissa wrote out this post to explain the changes to everyone, but I really don’t “get” why this site is telling me how influential I am.

      Reply
  2. lisa

    Thanks for the refreshing perspective. I log in sometimes just to see what my score is for media kit updates, and I was surprised to see I’d fallen 4 points in a week. It’s nice to know it was just a change in the algorithm rather than me doing something wrong!

    Reply
  3. MJ

    I saw my score drop significantly and despite doing the same things I used to it, it hasn’t gone back up.

    You’re right, it doesn’t take into account all of the qualitative things that can’t be measured by a number.

    Like Ashe, I like Klout for the perks though I’ve only qualified for two so far! LOL

    Reply
  4. WendyB

    The words “Klout’s history” made me laugh — how long has it been around? Two years? I got on Klout to see what it was about but I’m still not sure what it does for me or anyone else. In 2007, I was really into the numbers on Technorati too, and I look back on that and shrug. Like you say, there’s so much more one can do for the blog than fret over some obscure rating.

    Reply
  5. kurlybella

    ashe, i love it! lol! i used to use it for the perks and then i stopped because i could get those same perks faster by just calling up some pr contacts.

    no one (read large, influential companies that court bloggers) cares about klout scores at all and it’s so funny how a new company has come around and has so many bloggers with their panties in a bunch tweeting and blogging all day to keep their “number up” – while giving this application ALL ACCESS to their personal information. klout is just harvesting information for storage and for sale. it’s how the game works.

    the algorithms they use are broken and flawed anyway and in the end the reality is NO ONE GIVES A DA*M ABOUT YOUR KLOUT SCORE.

    http://techcrunch.com/2011/10/26/nobody-gives-a-damn-about-your-klout-score/

    Reply
  6. Christy Lorio

    I just logged in after reading this article to find my scored dropped over 10 points! I honestly don’t get too caught up with klout, obviously it is important to keep engaging followers but I can’t live on Twitter and Facebook! I’d much rather get out, get inspired and come back to my blog refreshed vs. hitting update every 5 seconds to see if someone has tweeted me back.

    Reply
  7. Ondo Lady

    I did wonder why my Klout had dropped by ten points and then I realised that everyone else on a lower score as well. I have no idea why they changed their algorithm – what was wrong with the system they used before/ Was it flawed? If so then why were they still using it? How do we know that the new system that they use is accurate? To be honest Klout has gone down a lot in my estimation after all this. Also they have listed me as an influencer in topics that I not only do not talk about but have no expertise in at all.

    Reply
  8. Franca

    Funnily enough, mine has gone up huge amounts, from 54 to 73. It was actually 78 immediately after they made the change! Which is clearly ridiculous, I don’t even use twitter that much and am definitely not a ‘thought leader’! It’s a nice thought, but no!

    Reply
  9. Lauren

    I don’t really get Klout, I’m self-hosted on WordPress so annoyingly they won’t give me a score on my blog so my score is twitter alone. They need to find a way to make it so self hosted WordPress can register.

    Reply
  10. Kate

    The only thing klout has going for it is its rewards. Honestly you can’t accurately measure ones influence when you don’t have access to all the data you need. For one Twitter can’t be measured accurately at all you don’t know who sees your tweet and you don’t know what type of traffic its sending to other sites which would be a good measurement of your influence over all. Let’s face it it’s not a great measurement tool…not until the social media companies let them have access to the metrics or they do a Comscore and run their own panel to track data.

    Reply