Y’all know about Klout, it’s been discussed in some form or another by the best of the best in social media and it’s been covered by the not so well known. I’m in the second group. It seems the more people I get to know, the more they become obsessed with their Klout scores. Lately it seems, I can’t take part in a chat or simple discussion without it being brought up.
Quite a few people know that I’m not a fan of Klout. It’s nothing personal. I just don’t like what Klout has done to, or the perception it gives people. It has created an entirely new playground of “I’m better than you.” I have said for months now there is something not right with the scores and that a person’s true influence or reach is not the overall score. I’ve also been saying it’s the information on the 2nd page (score analysis) that probably matters. The problem I’m finding is people don’t look there. I would take a glance at it, but really looked at it in-depth last week.
From what I can tell, the “meat and potatoes” of your influence lies somewhere in the four categories encompassed in the Score Analysis on the 2nd page. The categories are:
Klout Score – Your overall influence
Amplification – Likelihood that your content will be acted upon
Network – Influence of engaged audience
True Reach – Size of your engaged audience
This is where I have the problem with Klout:
At the beginning of last week, I had an overall “score” of 68. So did Jessica Gottlieb. (Disclosure: My score was actually 67.75 and Jessica’s was 68.3. Klout apparently rounds up or down and only shows the “whole” number. You’ll only find that on the 2nd page though).
Jessica Gottlieb is a well-known blogger. She has been around considerably longer in the blogosphere than I have; compared to her, I’m a newborn. She uses her website, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Posterous (among other tools) to engage folks. For those that don’t know her, in 2010, Jessica was named as one of Forbes “Top 14 Power Women to Follow on Twitter,” her blog has been named “Top Mom Blog” in 2009 & 2010 by Babble. When she talks, people listen. This woman has real “clout.” I like her; I’ve spoken to her on the phone. No nonsense, up front, tells it like it is. I’m like that – and that’s where the similarity between us ends.
On its face, if all you saw was the score, you would think we were equally influential. However, looking at our score analyses on the 2nd page, we are so far apart in” influence;” we’re not even in the same country.
At first glance, our overall amplification scores might be considered close, but take a closer look at the analytics of each of us. Not close – but not that bad. Jessica’s Facebook (blue) analytics are considerably higher; my twitter (green) analytics take a jump on hers (except for the retweets).
Our network and true reach scores are not remotely close.
As you can see, Jessica has significantly better numbers and she follows one-third the amount of people following her. My ratio is almost equal. Her audience is considerably broader in numbers than mine and I’m guessing she also has more influential followers as well. I believe that is where the true influence lies – between the network and the true reach scores.
It saddens me that some people will look at their overall score and think they might be influential only to be deflated when a friend with a lower score gets the Klout “perk.” They don’t know that their friend’s network or true reach might be in the 1000’s and theirs might be in the 100’s. They may not tweet enough or have the right ratio of followers to the amount of people they might be following. It could be a mix of things. They might understand more if they just looked at the 2nd page. It’s not personal, it’s about numbers.
Here’s a personal example of perceived influence due to a high overall score. Today, a twitter friend of mine received an invite to a party that Klout is holding. He was surprised that I had not been invited (my overall score is a bit higher than his). I wasn’t surprised at all. It boiled down, in part, to the numbers on the 2nd page of the Score Analysis.
I honestly feel the only reason my score is as high as it is, is due to the volume of tweeting that I do, not necessarily the people I tweet with. There really is no other explanation that I can see. Needless to say, I feel the analytics of Klout leave a lot to be desired. I really don’t understand how Jessica & I could have the same overall score with such disparate analytics.
Since my score does not make rational sense to me, it isn’t important. I’m more about what I share with family and friends in real life, and the connections I make engaging with folks online, like Jessica. What I say and how I say it, says considerably more about me than an inflated number ever will.
4/21/11 - I know this is a huge coincidence, but roughly 6 hours after posting this, my “true reach” score (and other’s as well) went up exponentially. I figured it was incorrect when I posted this. Is it correct now? Probably not, but at least that part is more current. Does it change any of the above, no. Now, if they could just work on the Topics and the Influenced By/Of categories, that would be awesome.