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Want more Klout?

Online content is being used to measure influence – and to exert it

How influential would you say you are? Not so long ago, influence depended on the job you had, or the circles in which you mixed. Not any longer, though, because increasingly influence depends on your social media presence.

You may not have heard of Klout, but it was the first of a wave of social media analytic services that measure an individual’s influence across their social network. It began in 2008 as a corollary of Twitter, but now pulls data from up to 12 social media platforms, including Facebook. An algorithm then assigns a ‘Klout Score’ from one to 100 based on how much online and social media influence a person has.

Wikipedia reports that the score depends on three measures:

  • True Reach – based on the size of a person’s ‘engaged audience’ of followers and friends who actively listen and react to her or his online messages.
  • Amplification Score – relates to the likelihood that one’s messages will generate actions (retweets, @messages, likes, and comments).
  • Network Score – reflects the computed influence value of a person’s engaged audience.


Although the score has attracted criticism from some quarters, notably for distorting perceptions of actual influence (for example, some bloggers are rated more influential than Barack Obama or, as the picture shows, Warren Buffet), its own influence is increasingly being felt.

According to Jeanne Meister, writing for Forbes, ‘Klout is on its way to becoming an integral part of the job search and recruiting process for many individuals and companies’. Essentially, more and more recruiters are looking at the likes of Klout to analyse online content and build up a more accurate profile of potential employers.

And although there may be something in the allegations that Klout exploits its users’ status anxiety and is ‘the Internet equivalent of herpes’, it’s not hard to imagine the Klout Score becoming an accepted element of social media and content marketing.

After all, every company and brand wants to feel like they are influencing consumers to but their product. An increased Klout Score would – rightly or wrongly – create that impression.

But it is worth pointing out that quality, engaging online content creates the same purpose in terms of all the Klout measures. It’s just that quality, engaging online content doesn’t need a hip, kool misspelling to do it.

 

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