What’s the big deal about Klout?

Boootssss
Creative Commons License photo credit: Hell, Etc

Notable affiliate marketing industry veteran Geno Prussakov wrote a piece for his blog, Most Influential Affiliate Summit West 2011 Speakers – Top 40. Geno took the time to look at a list of all the speakers at Affiliate Summit West 2011 (affiliate link) and compare their scores at Klout.com.

Geno’s rankings were a wee bit flawed due to a couple of oversights, but he generously went back and corrected the post and got what he thought were the final scores. Turns out, his timing couldn’t be worse because Klout updated their databases last night, causing some massive jumps for some people. My own score went from 8 to 40 (the original 8 was due to my recent username switch, which I may write about later in the week).

So, there’s your setup. Geno. Klout. List. Scores.

People talked a bit about Geno’s list on Twitter; I noticed several re-tweets and virtual high-fives over it. I also noticed a couple of people pooh-poohing the whole idea on the basis that Klout scores are worthless.

Are they? I’m not so sure.

Now, I’ll never suggest anyone turn into a stat junkie and pay real close attention to Klout or any other service that purports to have the best social media metrics evar! but are these things really worthless? There were, to my mind, many benefits that showed themselves during this whole situation.

  1. Thanks to the existence of Klout, Geno got a topic to write about.
  2. Geno wrote a post that got some traction as a result. Props to both Klout for having something worth writing about and to Geno for having the skill to write it.
  3. The 40 people listed got an in-content link back to their site from a respected industry website.
  4. Geno got some great comments, bolstering his blog entry.
  5. The whole thing sparked discussion on Twitter, which is always nice.

Where’s the downside?

Even if you’re the kind of person that considers Klout worthless, I would counter with this: nobody likes to talk in a vacuum. Services like Klout can tell you, in a snapshot, how often you’re being replied to and re-tweeted. It gives you a big-picture view. Sure, you know when someone replies to you, but at the end of the month, wouldn’t it be nice to see that you were engaging your followers in such a way that x% of them were replying to x% of your tweets? Even if you only use Twitter as a social tool, there is value in that.

Maybe you don’t see the value. Just don’t assume that it doesn’t exist. You can live without spending one second looking at your Klout score. You can succeed without it. But that doesn’t mean that it has no value.

I work in an industry where people generally live and die by their site analytics. They need to know where their traffic is coming from, what keywords they’re ranking for, and who their visitors are. Yet when it comes to applying any sort of measurement to social media – Twitter in particular – there’s a backlash from some people.

Why is that?

About Daniel M. Clark

Daniel M. Clark is a podcaster and proprietor of QAQN, a writer at danielmclark.com, and an all-around cool dude everywhere else.

God, I hate talking about myself in the third-person.

Geno Prussakov November 17, 2010 at 9:15 pm

Great summary and conclusion, Daniel!

In my opinion Klout is an amazing tool for measuring one's online influence based on their Twitter and Facebook activity. And the fact that beginning from this past night they started updating people's scores daily — see: http://t.co/2hTvfs5 — makes them even better. Only real-time data is of true value.

Speaking of my list, I don't believe that the recent change in the frequency of Klout score updates changes the list much. Yes, a few more people (like yourself, Daniel) now have to be added to it, but those that are already on it have probably only gotten reshuffled a bit in the ranking, but still remained in the top 40-45.

Thanks again for taking the time to post this. I'm honored to become a part of your mini case study. Seriously.

affiliatetip November 17, 2010 at 9:45 pm

I take any of those metrics with a grain of salt, but have no problem with them.

I think they are somewhat interesting indicators, and clever on the part of Klout to get people to care about them, even if it's making a fuss about not caring.

jimbanks November 18, 2010 at 7:56 am

I'm more interested in the most influential topics part of it.

Mine are two locations, a bar in Vegas and Pubcon that I was at last week.

John Chow's are 3 locations and an iphone.

Shawn is all business – marketing/affiliate marketing/internet marketing/social media/business/technology

So even though Shawn and I have the same score (now 55) I expect mine to trend down now that Pubcon is over and Shawn's to trend up because Affiliate Summit is round the corner.

The trend and the classification type are likely to be far more important than the raw number, at least to me they will be.

Geno Prussakov November 18, 2010 at 9:17 am

Good points (especially about the trend), Jim.

Speaking of the "most influential topics" though I still can't figure out how come one of my 6 is Japan. :)

Daniel M. Clark November 18, 2010 at 9:28 am

Geno, I think this speaks to what Shawn mentioned – things like this should be taken with a grain of salt. It's inherently imperfect, but is good for general trendspotting, I think.

But yeah… Japan? Weird.

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