Turns out we still need to talk about #klout70

half a chapter from this book that I done wrote

Twitter follower numbers and Facebook page likes are the obvious measure of success. But, because it is easy to buy followers or otherwise manipulate the most obvious numbers, it was important to create another measurement for social media influence. Thus, in 2008, only a year after Twitter was founded, Klout.com was born.

A Klout score, as opposed to other ways of measuring social media impact, is publicly available – though not as public as the number of Twitter followers – and, with that, comes an aspect of competition.

Klout is really basic. It measures retweets and mentions and, on registration, the user is given a score between 1 and 100. When other services are connected on an account, the platform measures not only Twitter, but other platforms like Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn interactions, but all only based on a very few, publicly available criteria.

Klout scores will not have any relevance today in professional environments. There are other and better ways of measuring social media success, but that does not mean you will not come across it in other contexts. I had thought it had mostly disappeared lately, when I saw this tweet in my timeline: ‘Wanna write a case study on using a Twitter echo chamber to game social influence? Data here: #klout70’

The #klout70 hashtag was started with the clear objective to allow members of the group to game their Klout score. In an echo chamber, this is really easy – just reply and retweet each other a lot, and your Klout score goes up. Does a Klout score of 70 or over benefit you in any other way? No, not really. If people are only replying and retweeting with the objective to manipulate a ‘vanity metric’, they are not there to talk to you. You are just a means to an end. Nobody there really cares.

Nobody outside of this community cares about your Klout score. Either they will not have heard of it, or they know it is too basic a measurement to be significant, and they can see your interactions better by actually looking at your Twitter profile.

I have issues with tricking people into spending their time on social media gaming their social influence, because not only is it a waste of time, but when blatant lies are listed as reasons to do it, it is unethical. And since a lot of what social media is suffering from is people not ‘getting it’, if an influential user comes up with schemes that only benefit himself, that obviously is a shame.

There are many far more critical opinions about Klout’s business model on the Wikipedia page. Some of us really thought those analyses would be enough to stop people using it.

Do: Measuring the impact of what you are doing is always a good idea. A better way of analysing your activities on Twitter is using Twitter’s own analytics at analytics.twitter.com – it’s free, it starts measuring when you first visit the URL, it measures whatever Twitter account you are signed into in the same browser. Twitter analytics give you an engagement rate, link clicks, retweets, favourites, replies all in handy graphs. Twitter’s business case for offering this is to get you to spend on promoted tweets, but you do not have to. Slight caveat with even these detailed measurements: Any tweet with an image scores much higher in the engagement rate, so everyone is using images now even for tweets that don’t need them. That still does not mean anyone has engaged with the content yet. Any measurement does not fully reflect human engagement.

So do not worry about follower numbers or Klout score. Grow your network with people you know, who are not out just out to grow their own network.



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