Want to know (why I deleted) my Klout score?
Funny, I’ve never been to Colorado nor do I remember posting anything about it, but according to my latest notification from Klout I’m influential there. And if the great and powerful Klout says it’s true, it must be. Right?
That brings me to my big announcement: I’m moving to Colorado.
Just kidding. I’m not moving but I did delete my Klout account.
Klout is a service that was thrust on most of us social media users as a way to measure our social media influence. It assigns users a fluctuating number (0 – 100) based on a mystical algorithm that’s already changed at least once, setting off a firestorm among passionate scorekeepers who worry they might miss out on job opportunities and other perks because their numbers dropped.
Since then I’ve noticed more people not only deleting their Klout accounts but also blogging about why they deleted it.
I’m joining the fray and blogging about it because as a journalist I’ve found my reasons differ slightly from others. Here they are, but keep in mind these are just my reasons. I don’t hate Klout and I’m not trying to encourage others to drop it.
1. It promotes, directly or indirectly, behavior that makes social media less useful and fun.
Klout is very secretive about its algorithm but it’s been long-rumored that socializing with people with smaller Klout scores could hurt your score. Consider this quote from social media consultant Amy Schmittauer.
“Make sure you’re engaging with people who have a relatively good to a higher Klout score … When you engage with people who have like no Klout or a really low score it’s reflects poorly on you. Even spam bots have a score of 25 or something, it’s crazy.”
Klout CEO Joe Fernandez later refuted that in this Mashable article, but that hasn’t stopped devout Klout folks from trying to game the system any way they can.
My goal is to be influential in my community by being informative. It’s counter-intuitive to ignore people because of their Klout score or to try and target people from outside of my community because they have a high Klout score.
2. It’s either too simple or too complex, never in between
It was kind of a neat novelty at first to compare my Klout number with friends but I’ve grown tired of the seemingly simple way it determines what topics you’re influential about and the complex way it computes how influential you are about those topics.
Klout says I’m most influential about Charleston, SC which makes sense because that’s where I’m from and what I post about the most. I’m also influential about “shooting,” presumably because I tweeted the word “shooting” a lot during my time as a crime reporter.
So basically it determines the topics from words I use a lot. For instance, I’m also “influential” about Gaddafi because of a semi-humorous observation I made about the disparate media coverage at the time of his capture.
— Andy Paras (@AndyParas) October 20, 2011
Does that make me an expert or even influential about Gaddafi? Hardly.
And perhaps the biggest complaint about Klout is how the number can fluctuate without doing anything differently. One thing is certain: If you leave the grid for a few days by not tweeting or posting to Facebook, be prepared to see your number drop. I don’t want to force myself to post stuff on social media in fear my score might drop.
I don’t think I’m all that qualified to complain about online privacy since you can basically find me on any social media site, but I was kind of disturbed when, at Klout’s urging, I attempted to connect Klout to my Facebook page. Not only did Klout want access to my page it wanted access to all of the pages I administer, even my work accounts. All or nothing.
I chose nothing.
So what are the benefits of having a high Klout score? Here’s a quote from Klout CEO Fernandez in that same Mashable article.
“Some people are starting to leverage their Klout scores for success and fortune,” Fernandez said. “We get media requests asking for us to highlight the top Klout users in their communities, so this gives those people good press for being an influencer. Companies also look at Klout scores to recruit for social media and marketing jobs.”
So maybe now that I’m not on Klout I won’t be a global icon, or even influential in Colorado.
But you know what? I’m fine with that.
Filed under: Social media and journalism, Uncategorized | 5 Comments
Tags: journalism, Klout, social media