Klout – Assigning a Ranking to Online Influence

I recently discovered Klout while browsing through my News Feed. I noticed a friend had posted their ‘Klout Score’ in comparison to another friend and bragging about their score being higher. I did a quick Google search and found out about the company and how the score is calculated. Here is a general outline from CrunchBase:

“Klout is a San Francisco-based company [founded in 2008] that provides social media analytics to measure a user’s influence across his or her social network. The analysis is done on data taken from sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, and measures the size of a person’s network, the content created, and purports to measure how other people interact with that content. Users are then given a ranking between 1 and 100 with a higher score meaning a higher online influence.”

Since its launch, Klout has received a lot of criticism for the way their scores are measured. In the earlier days its algorythm ranked Barack Obama as having less influence than blogger Robert Scoble – the company has since updated their systems and Obama now has a Klout score of 95.  I made an account to see what all the hype was about and was given an initial score of 21 which I think is fair considering I am an unpaid intern still finishing her Bachelor Degree with very little online presence. However, I looked at some of my friends’ rankings and noticed some surprising scores. An assistant at the company I work for had a score of 62 compared to a Director of a leading media agency with a score of 58. Unless this assistant is secretly an online guru this doesn’t seem to make sense to me.

Overall I think this company has an interesting concept but I’m not sure that online influence can actually be effectively measured yet.






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