Do You Have Klout?

Earlier this year, our dear friend and colleague Karen Tkaczyk mentioned that a Klout score higher than 60 would get her into a fancy airport lounge at San Francisco International Airport. We'd heard of Klout, but had never spent any time researching it. This nugget of information got our attention.

So what exactly is this thing, Klout? Well, it is a sophisticated set of algorithms that measures how important one might be on the internet. Of course, internet fame or influence should always be viewed quite suspiciously, but the idea in itself is intriguing. According to Wikipedia: 

Klout is a website and mobile app that uses social media analytics to rank its users according to online social influence via the "Klout Score", which is a numerical value between 1 and 100.

That makes sense. The more active you are online, and the more of an influencer you are perceived to be, the higher your Klout score, which will earn you a certain number of so-called Perks. Most of the items Judy has earned (discounts at restaurants, free stuff meant to promote the company giving it away) have not been too exciting yet, but Klout seems to be a fascinating beast indeed.

Seen in the most positive of lights, Klout rewards online behavior that is useful and of interest to others. For instance, if all you do all day is post updates about what you ate and what your cat is doing, that will most likely not be too thrilling for others and thus won't increase your Klout score. On the other hand, if you engage others, get them to retweet your post and discuss your idea on Facebook or any other social media outlet, this will increase your score. That also makes sense. Now the question is: What's the point? At our most cynical, we could say Klout is just another online popularity contest with no real tangible benefit other than marketers benefiting from what we do online. However, we want to spend some more time exploring Klout before we make up our minds. While much has been written about how to increase your Klout score, Judy recently tried some of these strategies, but her score remains steady at 62 or 63, which is a bit puzzling. Ah, the mysteries of algorithms...

What about you, dear colleagues? Have you tried Klout? What's your take on it? We'd love to hear your opinion. 


Kevin Hendzel on December 28, 2013 at 4:30 PM said...

It appears that the Klout score is essentially logarithmic, which it would have to be to measure the "impact" from a huge range of different people who are active in social media at dramatically different levels.

According to Klout itself, a score of 20 is average and anything above 50 already puts you in the top 95th percentile of all people on social media, which shows you how much activity is concentrated in that top 5%.

Facebook and Twitter still account for most of the Klout score. Since I'm the only sentient human on the planet who's never had a Facebook account and I'm only really active on Twitter and LinkedIn (and for barely a year), my score sits at 51 today and that seems about right.

I could try to push it up, but I'd rather focus on my blog (also just over a year old) since it now has around 1,500 legitimate subscribers, most of them in Europe (I just scrubbed out a ton of bots and bogus accounts) and it gets 66K hits a month on what I hope are serious topics, so honestly that's enough "Klout" for my blood.

Judy should take comfort in the fact that the higher your score, the harder it is to increase it (it's that way on any logarithmic scale -- it's actually WAY harder) so unless you are a major public figure with a few hundred thousand followers it will always be tough to crack into the 70 range. :)

Karen Tkaczyk on December 28, 2013 at 9:17 PM said...

Hi Judy,
I spent a 5-hour layover in the AA lounge that day, so I was thankful for my free pass.
I've seen no other benefits of Klout this year but a $50 lounge pass is not bad. Perhaps others got other perks relevant to their social media engagement.
The only thing I have seen to increase my Klout noticeably is to add another medium. I had only either Twitter or Facebook connected then added the other and that increased it by quite a few points.

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on December 30, 2013 at 10:48 AM said...

@Kevin: Many thanks for yoru detailed insight. We think you are completely right that it's almost immpossible to get to 70+ unless one is famous for one think or another. And we also agree that it's best to focus on the blog, which we have been writing for many years. :) We really enjoy yours as well.

@Karen: That sure does seem to be a fantastic perk (the only good one I've seen). And yes, connecting more channels to Klout does seem to be a good way to increase the score. Happy 2014!

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