So the other day I’m surfing the interwebz, checking out job listings for copywriters. And I came across a listing that requested, among other things, my Klout score.
Now what the hell is a Klout score?!
If I don’t know what mine is, is it correct to assume it’s low? (Or, if low is good, that it’s [possibly dangerously] high?) I put an abrupt halt to the job search and started investigating Klout instead.*
Klout is a company that has a secret formula (called an algorithm) that measures your influence in the world (of Social Media)—Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Foursquare. (“We Believe That Everyone Has Influence. Our Goal Is To Help You Understand & Leverage That Influence.”)
Now this is an intriguing idea. You know why they would want to do this, right? Because people who want to sell you things (marketers) like to know how to reach people. Better yet: To reach people who can persuade still more people to buy things. In the olden days, they’d invite a bunch of magazine editors to a press lunch and hand out goody bags. (I once got a neat mini blender that way.) But more and more people are getting their information and inspiration from other sources now, and it’s been a struggle for marketers to know who’s who on this new world’s “masthead.”
Enter Klout. Like I said, Klout has a way to figure out how much influence you have based on your social media activity. The highest score is 100. Categories you can be “influential” in include: Cupcakes, handbags, wheelchairs, McDonalds, and calculus. And as silly as it might sound, if you’re on Klout and you have influence in a certain area, you can get “perks.” Past perks have included free Virgin Air tickets, first crack at Spotify, and Microsoft’s Windows Phones.
But with great perks come potential pitfalls. What if your Klout score sucks? What about the jerks who are gaming the system? If you go for Klout, are you also going to have to look into Kred? (Kred is like Klout, for Twitterers only. Also like Klout, it’s a C word spelled with a K, and for the same reason the Kremlin is the Kremlin and not the Cremlin. It’s kooler.)
At this point in time, I’m not going to jump on the Klout bandwagon. I don’t Tweet. I think Foursquare is intrusive. I’m more of a “friendly stalker” on Facebook than someone who comments and shares, so I’m not going to get any Klout there, either. But as a writer who more often that not works with marketers, it helps to keep up with what’s going on in social media. Even the icky stuff, like analytics, measuring things, and “influence.”
If you, too, are low on Klout capital, don’t sweat it too much (yet.) Their system’s not perfected, and there’s controversy about how much it matters until it is:
“Klout’s pervasive problem is that the deeper among us are never going to judge anyone based solely on some arbitrary decimal score. Especially when that decimal number ranks teenbot Justin Beiber at 100, but precludes me from claiming Windows Phone 7 “Klout Perk” and tickets to a Matt and Kim concert because I don’t have enough technology Klout.”—Alexia Tsotsis
Alexia Tsotsis writes about technology at TechCrunch, and technically probably should be considered an “influencer.” After getting all het up about media clout and cred, I have to admit her headline warmed my heart. If I ever do join Twitter, she’ll be the first person I’ll follow.
* Note to policy wonks: To fix unemployment, disable the internet. It’s a time suck.