Klout rants are becoming a cottage industry

Klout seems to be the blogger’s best friend these days.  Is anybody NOT writing about it?  What’s driving the frenzy?

Are you really serious about privacy?

The biggest complaint about Klout (recently) is the fact that they have had some privacy breeches, most notably “opting-in minors” who were connected to people who had legitimately participated in Klout. This privacy violation is intolerable.

This is a serious issue, but to all the bloggers who are passionate about privacy, I’d like to ask a question — If you have so much energy around Klout, why aren’t you going absolutely ape-shit about Facebook?

Duiring this same period that the world has been bitching up a storm about Klout, the U.S. government concluded a Congressional investigation over Facebook’s grievous violations, including this one:

Many of the most popular applications, or “apps,” on the social-networking site Facebook Inc. have been transmitting identifying information — in effect, providing access to people’s names and, in some cases, their friends’ names — to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies.  The issue affects tens of millions of Facebook app users, including people who set their profiles to Facebook’s strictest privacy settings. (Wall Street Journal)

Now, because of these arrogant, chronic, and brazen violations that probably affect every one of us, the federal government slapped a much-needed penalty on Facebook that includes 20 years of privacy auditing.  And yet, I have not seen one single blog post from the Klout detractors about the most serious privacy issue of our generation.  Not one post.

Are you serious about privacy?  Then do something about it that matters. Let’s have some original thinking on the matter instead of another dozen Klout tantrums.

Klout by the numbers

In the big scheme of the social web, Klout is trivial. I teach university classes to dozens of business professionals every week and less than 10 percent of them have heard of Klout.  So why would some bloggers devote 4, 5, even 6 blog posts in a month about an obscure company like this?

I think one reason is because Klout CEO Joe Fernandez often personally responds to critics, a noble gesture that also feeds blogger egos and probably encourages more criticism.  I don’t think any blogger expects to hear from Zuckerberg, right?

And here’s another clue to the Klout blog frenzy.  The chart below illustrates the average number of tweets I received on Klout-related blog posts compared to the last 25 non-Klout-related blog posts (not including growtoons):

Klout drives traffic like no other subject on the blogosphere. And I’m not the only one seeing this phenomenon. A blogger friend said his three biggest blog posts of 2011 were about Klout. I’m not claiming anybody in particular is using the topic as linkbait. I’m just saying a critical thinker might consider the fact that doubling one’s blog traffic might just impact a blogger’s decision to harp on this comparatively obscure issue. It is fair to call attention to a problem. It is wearisome to make a career out of it.

And, you may be missing the point. 

Many people claim Klout is silly and meaningless. And, there are many funny anecdotes that support this point of view. However, I articulated a counter-opinion to this in a post called “Why Klout Matters” and I won’t repeat the argument here. But I will let you in on a secret …

While doing research for my new book, I interviewed many of Klout’s customers. The people in the marketing trenches told me that not only is the data they receive from Klout meaningful, it’s revolutionary in ways that will surprise you. These case studies will be available soon, but the democratization of influence is undeniably becoming a mainstream marketing option.

Klout has made some very big PR missteps.  They are iterating a start-up venture in real-time, in public … and that’s kind of like grinding out sausage in the middle of a busy street.  Pretty ugly. But they’re also improving and making legitimate business advances:

  • They’ve attracted business (and repeat business) from some of the most important brands on the planet like Nike, Disney, Audi and American Express.
  • Based on some spectacular success, one television network is integrating Klout influencers into nearly every program marketing effort.
  • A fresh round of investment just came in from the most powerful venture capitalists in Silicon Valley.
  • Salesforce.com announced it was wiring Klout into its market-leading CRM software to support sales and service decision-making.
  • Christopher S. Penn, one of the intellects I most admire on the social web, authored a cautionary view about opting out of Klout because of its increasingly mainstream applications.  A must read.
  • Advertising Age named Klout as one of the most important digital trends of the year.

There seems to be some momentum building here, no?

Everybody has the right to say and do whatever they want on the social web.  But in my opinion, social scoring is here to stay and it’s time to move the conversation along.  I’m hopeful that we can start seeing fresher and broader debate, especially on the essential topic of Internet privacy.

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  • I haven’t heard a peep on twitter about the Facebook privacy issue, or about the Federal government’s intervention. Of course, I haven’t said anything about it either. I’m just not phased by reports of Facebook violating my privacy anymore. I certainly don’t condone it, but I know (and FB knows) I’m not going to delete my Facebook account. Although, now I think twice about the kind of information I share. But, ever since I found out that the electric company sells my name, address and household information to marketing list compilers and there’s nothing I can do about it, I have wondered how personal our personal information really is– online or offline.

  • After bantering back and forth with some folks we came to the conclusion that what Klout really measures is activity, not engagement and not influence. 

    But clearly it’s being used by some to measure the latter. That’s where I’m in a bit of a conundrum. I don’t particularly like the metric but with the integration of Google+ my Klout is now a pretty decent 78.

    Now, I’m not going to change what I do to move this number. And I’m reticent to publicize my Klout score even though it potentially could help in the sales funnel for my boutique agency. It just feel hypocritical to not believe in a metric and yet use it at the same time.

    Finally, do I even want the clients who only want to work with me because of my Klout score. Who think that I must know SEO because of that number instead of my track record and work? Who may actually believe I have more Klout than Matt Cutts? 

    Probably not. Maybe that’s a bad business decision. I don’t know and maybe I’ll revisit it and change my mind, but for now I just can’t bring myself to promote this number, even if it’s a positive reflection.
     

  • This is a big problem. We are being conditioned to give away our privacy.  We really have no idea how big this problem is. It is not a matter of if, but a matter of when, we have a real meltdown in this area. i don’t understand why there is not more outrage.

  • I think you’re taking the right step by being open minded about it. Why burn a bridge when the momentum is clearly in favor of this trend?

    Personally, I dislike Facebook, but you know what? I better understand it and embrace it if I am going to be an effective teacher and consultant.  Klout is no Facebook, but I still have to approach the subject dispassionately as a business professional.

    Early in the article, I reference an earlier post I wrote about Klout. Read it to understand my view that Klout does begin to measure one small sliver of influence. Might offer a new take on things for you.  

    Thanks for the great comment AJ!

  • Well, at least *my* Klout rant had a different angle…

    http://ike4.me/klout

  • Scot Duke

    Great Point!  Klout is like all of the rest of the social evaluation platforms and has its Pros and Cons.  Seems to be working for most.  So far..and I have a lot more to look into..most of the people ranting about Klout being ..whatever..seem to also me the same people who are not very energetic in offering any positive feedback on..anything!

  • Anonymous

    Mark, I think the underlying issue is the fact that the general public has not been educated on what the impact of giving their privacy away can actually look like.  

    For example, Facebook came out in 2004, and only NOW am I seeing locals tv commercials on identity theft and privacy. Maybe is just my region, but I feel that others need to be educated at the very beginning, prior to signup. 
    Now with that said, I don’t believe that’s actually attainable, primarily because the web is evolving so quickly.  But maybe it means educating youth at an early age on privacy protection and principles to practice? 

    I agree, something definitely needs to be done.

  • Excellent article, Mark. You’re absolutely correct, Klout seems to have hit a hot button with a lot of bloggers and I have to think that the timing of Klout-hate being right after the PR disaster was more than coincidental. 

    The same thing has happened with cell phones. When people thought Apple was tracking cell phone locations with iPhone software, people went nuts. As it turned out, Apple was keeping track of cell phone towers generally so that the iPhone could more quickly find and lock into signal from the towers.

    But when it was discovered that Carrier IQ had been secretly downloaded by cell phone carriers onto smartphones, software that recorded every keystroke and sent the data to carriers, the outrage was missing outside the tech community. The public was too busy being outraged that Siri couldn’t point them to the nearest abortion clinic.

    Klout will move ahead and thrive even without those who choose to remove their accounts. I do respect those who remove their accounts because they are speaking with their feet. Whether they regret their decision later and re-join remains to be seen. 

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  • Amen! The conversations need to move away from rants to productive conversations that move the industry along. Ever since I wrote and published a post about why I deleted my profile I have had several social media folks continually want to argue about the conversation. I am quite over it. I have never used the block feature on Twitter, but have had to pull my hand away the past 24 hours for one of them. 

    I deleted my profile for reasons unrelated to score and more in line with privacy. I even found out there were two minors who had scores which I was connected to. I agree Facebook should also hear more grief. However, I think that book has already been written a million times. I think Klout hit a personal chord w/some for different reasons. 

    I think being part of any social network is a personal decision. For those that choose to keep or delete their Klout profile we should respect them. Continuing to bash them via blog posts, twitter streams and comments serves no purpose in my opinion. 

    I am with you and would much rather see a real discussion happen that moves the needle forward versus simply rants on Twitter w/5 hashtags included in a single tweet. It’s obvious folks are wanting to get attention and the new focus seems to be bashing anyone who deleted their profile or wrote a blog post on such! 😉

  • A great point Dave. I have had several conversations about starting such an educational, non-profit site. It exists in here and there in bits and pieces but nothing up to date or cohesive that could really help parents.

  • Nicely done. I would expect nothing less. I have not received any perks so you are way ahead of me.

  • I can always count on you for the level perspective, Mark.

  • Well, honestly, Klout has had a lot of cons. But to a large extent this is because they offer more transparency than Facebook and Google with what they are doing with the information. I’m sure all these platforms are having issues — but they are cloaked. Thanks for the great comment Scot.

  • I agree. I have no problem with people doing whatever they feel is best for them. Just stop whining about it.  Do it and get it over with : )

  • That’s really intersting that you were targeted like that. That’s pretty sad Pam. What a world.

    Klout hits a target because it is rating PEOPLE — not websites or blogs — and that drives people crazy.  I understand that sentiment. My book will shed some light on the phenomenon of online influence. It’s going to turn some heads. : )

    Thanks so very much for the great comment Pam. Always an honor to have you stop by!

  • Thanks for that nice comment Jenn!

  • eProAgi

    As far as I am concerned Klout hasn’t even gone consumer mainstream, but lookout when it does, my woman’s intuition tells me it WILL. Me, I love being an influencer in the real estate industry. Feel free to shout some Klout my way!! ~ eProAgi

  • Hi Mark, when will your book be published? I am looking forward to it.

  • So nice to hear from you Jan. The pre-sale will be available by the end of the month and the book will be launched in early March at SXSW.

  • Ha!  Good for you. 

  • George Orwell’s 1984 dealt with the overall theme of being spied upon by a totalitarian government. In real life it looks like business, banks, and government are all on the same bus: and it is denuding our privacy expectancy by slices, ever so thin, but still there.
    I see enough to realize that like a “Social Security” Card a social personal ranking doesn’t seem avoidable!
    The lack of noise in protest to these loses may well come from the sheer inherent loss of self that takes place at an alarming rate with the engagement of news in real time we all face today.
    Klout doesn’t own me, but it does put me in a position to either own the data or let the data run how I feel about it!
    I choose to take any advantage from a social scoring system that I can.
    Being born in Ireland, under the Class System of the British Empire, I was given a Klout ceiling that I was not to aspire to rise above.
    I came to America and created my own klout, and hopefully will continue to do so.
    What about the inaccuracies of Credit scores?
    Have you ever really tried to clean up that Influence system? It involves every purchase we make, every late payment we make, every single significant transaction that scores our cost to the lender, or other…..

  • Great points Billy. Many years ago I had my credit ruined by the poor financial choices that (as a young person) I made. It ruined my credit and took years to build back up. But at the same time doesn’t the credit score promote good financial action like paying off the debt you have and keeping the amount of debt you have low?

    I know it’s in the early stages (of social media and online influence measures) but I haven’t seen a system yet that is based on sound social media practices. Perhaps that’s because they’re still being figured out.

  • Mark, maybe the tide is turning. This post has been live most of the day now, and has a measly (by your standards) 69 tweets as I type this. Or maybe that is just because you are not taking the popular Klout position. 
    I agree, Klout’s privacy issues are troubling, but their are numerous companies with troubling privacy practices today. Companies are accustomed to being able to do what they want with data (consider the direct mail databases shared between catalog companies, with our names shared based on our specific buying habits). Our lives used to leave a small data fingerprint. Today, we add to our massive digital fingerprint every day and there is a major industry that has developed around collecting, assembling and selling that data as well as associated services to marketers. Klout isn’t even the posterchild for these practices, most of which happen behind the scenes without our knowledge.Now I need to go write a post comparing some of these practices to Klout’s issues and hope to get a whopping (by my standards) 69 tweets.

  • Looking forward to getting a copy on my Kindle Mark. Sounds like some interesting reading.

    You do know how to tease us with it.

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  • You will love it. : ) 

  • I always love your perspective Billy and the way you connect the dots. It is very true that we could very well be entering a new social media caste system of haves and have-nots when we are able to “filter” people out by some company’s score. Interesting times.

  • I was talking to a guy who scientifically and methodically built up his Klout score.  He dissected the scoring system and set up an aggressive plan to beat the system, point-by-point.

    He started out by actively building up a network of people who liked to share his content. He found that his content wasn’t very good so he started a blog and worked hard to create great content that would move through his system. He actively engaged in the network to build strong relationships. So this is the way he “gamed” Klout system, but what he did was what I would tell any client to do who wanted to be successful on the social web!And the end result of his project? He increased his score by 30 points. I asked him “Well, are you actually more influential?” He said, “yeah, I guess I am.” So I think Klout is beginning to reinforce the very behaviors that we all have learned to master to have an effective social footprint. This fact is obscured by the silly anecdotes about being influential about paper or whatever and the PR issues.  I think they are on to something.

  • Actually, this post is an aberration because my RSS feed is screwed up. 48 hours after the post ran, the email subscription still has not gone out. So many thousands of people have not seen the post.  Isn’t technology wonderful?

    And I do think there is something to the fact that my position is probably not mainstream. I suppose it is a lot more fun to read blog posts that were written on adrenaline.I think your comments are on target and probably make the point better than i did in the original post Eric.People are up in arms because Klout uses our data to make money with their clients. Ummm … that’s what nearly every social platform does. They just don’t let us peak behind the curtain like Klout does. The whole blogosphere seems to be asleep at the wheel on privacy.  There is no question that Google knows more about me than any human on earth. What happens when the Chinese government buys Google?

  • Because people are being “conditioned” into ignoring the ramifications in lieu of the instant gratification of “information’, games and cheap (free) services. Since this is ultimately what the marketing industry wants/needs, why would it raise the issue?

  • Great observation!  There is no question “Social Scoring” is here to stay and it’s going to evolve rapidly over the coming few years. And, once technologies like Klout span the entire social domain, the ramifications for marketers are huge. But, like you say, the privacy implications could be bigger.  The key will be that those who want to be influential will be giving up a lot of privacy to do so, those who don’t, likely will guard themselves against it.

    But, I ‘d expect that all of this concern is temporary.  Privacy is a huge issue for a generation that is becoming less and less dominant. A newer generation of consumers is emerging  who have been conditioned to ignore online privacy issues.

  • It sounds like this calls for a test 🙂

    Aside from the Klout score going up, did this person you interviewed say anything about bringing in more business, getting better perks, or any other tangible benefits?

    As for the method, building a community around your business (or cause) is a very important thing, and it sounds like that’s just what he did.

  • No his only goal was to raise his score.  It was actually a contest his company sponsored to see who could raise their scores the most. He won a trip to Las Vegas. No joke.

  • A lot of people are reacting to the social scoring trend based on a snapshot of where the industry is right now. That’s a mistake. This thing is evolving quickly. 

    Always nice to see the number one {grow} contributor in the comment section! Thanks Steve.

  • I’d call that a tangible result 🙂 Vegas baby!

  • Scarycath

    No perks Mark? That is weird. I’ve been offered 3, latest one being a virtual slice of ownership in a virtual company.  I can’t believe you’ve not had any perks, my score went up to a whole 44, even though I’ve been basically ignoring my Twitter and FB accounts for the last 3 months or so.  It all must be working as it should be then.

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  • Well thought out post, Mark.  My concern though with a blunt instrument like Klout is that, as Christopher Penn points out, been integrated with HR systems and Salesforce.com.  Very few of those system users understand what Klout measures.  But they know it’s a number and you’re a 54 and I’m a 31 at something that has to do with social networks.  When you take that, plus the non opt-in policy that results in kids under 18 having profiles created about them, I think Klout’s gone too far.

    You’re also right about Facebook being 100s of times more important in the privacy debate.  I have contacted all of the companies I had FB apps connected on my profile to ask about data use and I’ve heard nothing back.  I think should be a major focus of the privacy debate.  Unlike Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax, Facebook is not subject to the same data laws at the Federal and State level that these credit scoring companies are.  

    Klout, with their non-opt in public scoring system is just a more annoying and visible privacy transgression than Facebook applications for most people.  

  • Posts on Klout are linkbait. It may not be intentional but they are like a fat pitch delivered waist high that many can’t help but swing at.

    If you have issues with privacy you might as well get off of the net. That doesn’t mean that you should ignore everything that goes on around us but our information is constantly being collected.

    I wonder what is being done with that information but I am not convinced that the fact that I am being hurt by its collection.

    There is an awful lot of chain rattling being done and from what I have seen not much is really all that substantive.

  • Mark, with all respect, people are not “up in arms because Klout uses our data to make money with clients.”  

    People are up in arms because:

    1. Klout is not opt-in–they create public scores or everyone on the social grid no matter if they want to be scored or not.  When I create a Twitter account or Facebook account, I’m not aware of every possible use of that data.  We discover over time where the problems are, and Klout is a big, fat problem because of lack of opt-in and the public, individual scoring.

    2. Klout measures something, but it’s not “the standard for social influence.” They may be as I’ve said, a blunt instrument that measures something, but people are upset that they make this claim in an effort to establish their franchise as one of the, if not the primary arbiter of social influence.

    3. Kids under 18 still have Klout profiles–public scoring of their social influence–without any real program by Klout to remove these profiles.  That includes my daughters and your kids.  And your neighbors kids.

    4. Klout isn’t set up to “help people improve their social influence,” (Joe Fernandez words)  It’s set up to sell perks programs to advertisers.  If they said that instead of pretending they’re social media angels, they’d get some cred instead upseting people.  As Liz Strauss says, it’s a values question.  

    I agree wholeheartedly that Facebook is the much bigger problem looming  in the privacy and data debate.  I have some interviews with people from major apps on Facebook talking about how they use data (and some who won’t talk about it.)  I think you and I would agree that social media data can be used for good or evil and to suggest that it should have constraints, or at least be answerable to public opinion is wrong.  

    Thanks-RJ

  • We violently agree. I made most of these same arguments in the previous post I mentioned. I simply did not repeat them here. 

  • No, I have received no perks. Not even the Weather Channel umbrella, which everyone I know received! : ) 

    In fairness, I have also never pursued perks on the site. Due to the nature of the book I am writing, I did not want to have any conflict of interest. It’s not worth obscuring my integrity for some deodorant.

  • Yes, and we are seeing that more and more.

  • Wow, RJ, that is shocking.  You heard NOTHING back?  Wow.

    I think the Klout/credit score comparison is probably accurate.  A credit score really tells nothing about you as a person. It does not reflect on your integrity or your willingness to re-pay a bill. However, it does stand for something and it is widely-used as a short-hand summary of a person in many situations. Klout is being used the same way. In our information-dense society, we are hungry for symbols of social proof to tell us what to do. On the social web, real achievement is overrated. Sad but true. Klout does matter.

  • I respectfully disagree. I think the social web is the most hyper-consumer sensitive model in history. On a small scale, we have seen that a consumer revolt led to substantial changes in Klout, which apologized and humbly set out to adjust to the consumer sentiment. They will have to do that to compete and survive.

    I saw a post yesterday about a leak where Google is doing the same thing as Klout — they just don’t tell people about it. Of course Facebook, Microsoft and many other companies are doing it too. We have no concept of how our lives are being stored and profiled in permanent digital formats. 

    So, theoretically, I don;t think we have to give up our rights to privacy to participate on the social web.  If even a small percentage of the 700 mm people on Facebook woke up and demanded change, the game could be altered. Will that happen? I’m doubtful.  I mean even after this Congressional investigation, people are still numbing themselves on Farmville.  We probably won’t see passionate activism around Facebook like we did on Klout unless a privacy disaster occurs that costs people money.

    Facebook is the most effective spy organization ever created and we don’t care as long as the virtual crops get water.

  • Hi Mark,

    I agree with you in concept but I am very skeptical about whether enough people will make a stink about things. We live in a time when many people prefer to take a NIMBY attitude.

    If they don’t see a direct correlation between how something might hurt them they just don’t move.

  • Rohn Jay Miller

    The last sentence should read “to suggest it should NOT have constraints, or at least be answerable to public opinion is wrong.”  Sorry about that-RJ

  • Rohn Jay Miller

    I did hear back from Vanessa Schneider of Eventbrite who said they recently scaled back the amount of personal data they ask for with the Facebook sign in to just basic profile information and friends list–the information I make public anyway.  

    She said “the only place we
    actually implement this is when we recommend upcoming events that your friends
    are attending. We think this makes our users’ experience on Eventbrite even
    better – events are social, after all.

    Which to me is a completely reasonable exchange of my personal Facebook information so I get a better user experience on Eventbrite.

    I’m gathering more responses and I hope to blog this week on Facebook application privacy.  Thanks-RJ

  • The attention to Klout by bloggers is simply a matter of “follow the money”. Klout scores directly drives how many downloads a blogger gets or endorsements – in other how much they earn from the social brand.

    Klout’s learning curve comes on the back of people trying to monetize their online presence as I wrote in Ad Age explaining why bloggers are complaining the loudest. http://adage.com/article/digitalnext/hey-klout-measuring/230997/

    Facebook’s privacy issues are bad – but dont have the impact on bloggers that Klout does. Klout went down a slippery slope when they claimed to be the “standard of influence.” 

    ‘nuf said. 

  • Very good and right on point. I do feel Klout is over hyped.  I think some companies only care about privacy enough to avoid a law suit. Info equals $$$ to so many companies these days its crazy.

  • Exactly. Thanks Alvin.

  • Thanks very much for passing this on Judy.   I am fairly immered in the digital and blogging world and don’t know of anybody who correlated Klout scores with the success of their blogs.  Would be interested to learn more about your conclusion.

    I do think Klout measures something, with increasing effectiveness. My ideas are explained in the post Why Klout Matters, which is linked above.

    Thanks so much for your observation.

  • Agree. That’s why it will have to hit them in the pocketbook for anything to happen, I’m afraid.  Thanks Jack.

  • Great comment, Mark!

    My most viewed posts were my Klout rants (I would argue that they were early before it was a cottage industry). And I have been tempted to do some more but they would be a rehash…

    They found an important niche, they are trying to develop a better measure and they are good at publicity. Their abrupt changes are maddening – but mostly are a sign that the measures are not yet good…

    I believe, as I know you do, that the popularity of Klout will result in SEO-type behavior in social media and lessen the experience. But people want influence measures and Klout is trying. (Sometimes VERY trying.)

    Thanks!

    – Gary

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  • Hi –

    I don’t follow a large number of people on Twitter – only about 90 people or so. Many of them I know and they are authors, “pro” bloggers and indie musicians.

    The way I learned of the Klout algorithmic adjustment was when one blogger who is an affiliate marketer noticed a correlation (on the negative side) between her normal Twitter promo activities and the Klout downgrading. Then another blogger noticed his music downloads rates seemed to be unusually light. 

    Then I saw a few other references about book downloads being impacted. When you think about it – it makes sense. A consumer can only act a very limited number tweets – the higher the credibility – the more likely they note your tweet. If a blogger loses 15 points (as many did) when the math speaks for itself. 

    Its the law of the social jungle.

  • Sounds like sketchy evidence and probably not strong enough to link Klout score to business levels as you did in your article. A rather bold leap of logic. I find it hard to believe that somebody would hesitate to download a song they liked because an artist’s Klout score dropped. Doesn’t even make sense.

    BTW my Klout score dropped 20 points that day and my blog had a record month, my book sales had a record month, and my business had a record month.

  • Great comment and loved your humorous comment at the end. The personal SEO type behavior is going to be very interesting to observe! I’m looking for Klout coaches to emerge!

  • Laura Click (@lauraclick:twitter ) sent me this way from her recent post on http://pushingsocial.com. Last week I blogged about Klout (“Don’t Trust Klout”) and at the same time created an account on Social Media Today so I could comment on a post. I saw the RSS feed option and added my blog. The next morning they published the Klout post and it got over 300 tweets in just a few days. Crazy! I’ve only recently devoted time to “real” blogging, but the response amazed me.

    I can honestly say, I wasn’t going for link bait. I just happened to have an opinion from the technical side of things based on some screwy stuff that happened to my account. Your comment here is perfect: “They are iterating a start-up venture in real-time, in public… and that’s kind of like grinding out sausage in the middle of a busy street.  Pretty ugly.”

    Some have asked me to keep writing about Klout (or Kred) but I’m just not sure there’s much more to be said right now. Is it ego stroking, gamification of social media, the next generation Nielsen ratings, an online credit score or some mix of the above?

    Time will tell. Meanwhile, hopefully we all stay busy shipping stuff that matters.

  • This is a very interesting perspective Luke. Thanks for sharing your first-hand experience with the Klout frenzy!  If you have not read it, my link at the top of the article explains what i think the real, long-term value of Klout may be. It’s really not what most people think. I’m not totally convinced Klout even gets it! : )  But I do think they are measuring something and it is correlating to some market successes.

  • Yeah, that’s a great post, I remember enjoying it earlier. I do think it matters as well, it’s just scary to have something “matter” that can be so inaccurate based on their own system not working as expected. It should do a better job of measuring social influence then measuring their current system status.

    All media has been measured at some point, social is just the newest kid on the block and Klout seems to be paving the way. Maybe that’s why it’s such an interesting topic? If we were all in the TV industry the first time someone tried to measure those ratings, maybe we would have been just as interested?

    I really enjoy learning from you, Mark. Thanks for being real, humble and knowledgeable.

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  • Michael Jackson

    Mark, really enjoying your insights. Keenly read every twittertime too! I think Klout may well go mainstream soon as word spreads. Agreed, it is very klunky, yet it appeals to the lowest common denominators of greed, self-interest and promotion and the individual. A powerful combo. Regards, Michael Jackson.

  • Mark W Schaefer

    Glad this was helpful Michael. Thanks for letting me know!

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