What is Klout? (updated)

Ironically, Klout changed the way they compute influence today.  You might have noticed everyone complaining about the drop in their influence.  You can find out more about this on the website’s blog.

You may have heard of the website Klout.  It’s a website that measures and tracks the influence of individuals or businesses.  And considering the increasing importance of an internet presence, especially for businesses, this site offers a look at how much impact one has.

So how exactly does Klout work, what can you do to improve your score, and does the score really matter or, for that matter, even reflect reality?

A Klout score is a number between zero and 100 that reflects how much influence a person or business has, based on content creation and engagement.  The score contains three parts: true reach, amplification, and network impact.  True reach is the number of people you influence.  Amplification is much you influence those people.  Network impact is how influential the people in your network are.  Klout also keeps track of subjects you are influential in.

To help accurately measure your influence, you can link many different social network profiles to your account, including Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Blogger, WordPress, and more.  Klout tracks different aspects of your interactions on this site to compute your score, such as followers or friends, retweets or comments, etc.

As explained in a post on Web-Strategist, Klout scores are a useful tool, but they don’t provide a complete picture of online influence.  The author points on relying on any single gauge is dangerous, but there are also flaws in the Klout equation that can skew results.  Alex Braunstein explains some of these flaws further, pointing out inconsistencies between individual scores.

And scores can definitely be manipulated.  It is easy to search for quick tutorials on how to raise your Klout score.  Take this post, for example, which encourages people to focus on people with high scores or trending issues.  This may raise your score, but doesn’t it also skew the system if your actions aren’t sincere?

That aside, the team at Klout is constantly working to update how they calculate social influence.  And Klout scores can be an excellent resource for businesses wanting to target more influential people, as shown by Klout perks–products or experiences available to those with enough influence, or influence in the right areas.

Klout also has some competitors online.  CrushBlvd has the tagline of “the quest for beautiful people.” Kred looks at measurable influence, but is in beta mode and currently operates invitation only.  Finally, Peer Index helps you “understand your social capital.”

Do you use Klout?

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About Elizabeth W

MCDM grad school student, commutes for a great part-time job, travels when there's time and money, loves sports and food, attempts fashion, enjoys randomness.

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