KLOUT: Rhymes With “Shout”. What Meaning Does A Klout Score Have, Anyway?



People are still talking about Klout scores. In theory, the higher your Klout score (scores range from zero to 100), the greater your “influence” in networked society, and amongst your peers. I frankly think that it’s simply a measure of how good you are, or how much time you invest, in using social media for self-promotion, regardless of the quality of  your words and their wisdom content. When I receive notices from Klout, I have mixed feelings. Here’s one for example:

KLOUT SCORE IMAGE - Douglas E. Castle

Ironically, this happens whenever I am particularly active at “gaming” my social media. And the more time that I invest in gaming my social media, the less time that I am spending accomplishing other tasks which add value to my asset portfolio or profitability to my businesses. It’s an inverse relationship: the more time I spend raising my “social influence,” and my personal brand (which is, admittedly of some importance in obtaining client opportunities) the less time I spend working.

Here’s how I see it:

Klout Score Versus Productivity -Illustrative Example - Douglas E. Castle

Yes. I may be a harsh, crude judge, but social influence is not exactly the same as true branding, name recognition, or visitor conversion. It is just another metric by which we attempt to quantify qualitative characteristics. We are a metrically-obsessive society.

I would rather invest more of my time on directly productive activities than on indirectly, remotely reputation-building activities. The higher my Klout score, the poorer my optimization of time. I would rather selectively influence a small group of important persons than spread my seed all over social media society.

Want to laugh? I’ll bet that my Klout score will go up a bit higher just because I spent some idle time composing this blog article. That’s ironic. I would rather see my profits go up, and hire a more effective publicist. In the unforgettable words of a forgettable Millennial philosopher, “Meh.” I think that there are far better ways to gauge meaningful (i.e., targeted) social influence than by elevating my Klout score.

I prefer polling and other more parametrically-defined methods of measuring opinion or sentiment. Nielsen ratings used to be hot stuff. The average number of  times that your name is googled might be a better indicator of how much gravity and magnetism you have. I could go on, but I’d better get back to work — that means having meaningful conversations and interactions with other people.

To me (and I am neither opinionated nor sarcastic), bragging about my Klout score is rather like the fellow who used to clean my septic tanks bragging about his IQ and showing me his (somewhat cloudy-looking) MENSA ring. Heck — he probably did well on his SAT scores as well. How do you measure success? How do you quantify personality? Klout is a measure of your social Shout activity. Now get back to work, esteemed colleagues!

Douglas E. Castle

Klout scores tell far too little about an individual to use as a means of determining that person’s influence in the focus areas where Influence Matters.


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