So I have been monitoring my online presence in a number of ways for more than a year. Among the ways that I look to measure my influence is through the online service found at www.klout.com. I have heard both good and bad about this service but yesterday a new release on how they measure an individual’s Social “Klout” was released!
Let’s start by looking at what Klout does do:
Before the August 14 update, I found Klout to be overly “gamified” and influence could be far too easily manipulated by the “trading” of +K. That action is still present but with more actual Social connection that it draws from…the influence seems to be more accurate (hey Justin Beiber’s score dropped from 100 to 92!) and in the long term…may level the playing field.
In the new version of Klout, Social Influence is measured by a algorithm that is calculated with a score from 1-100 based on a calculation that sums up Score Signals. These signals look to Social Media Activity that ranges from Facebook Likes, to Twitter Retweets to +1’s on Google+. It also still accepts +K as part of the equation but I am a firm believer that my score is an honest representation of what my actual Social Influence is because I have never Traded or asked for a bump from anyone. Any and all of the “Pluses” that I have received have come and I have given because of real Social Influence.
Over at Time Techland Harry McCracken does a great job breaking down the barrier that starts to look at these changes as positive…for the most part.
So what is the purpose of Social Media Influence Scores?
I see that there is a need for a metric that can be looked at to measure success of our online activities. For me, I started this Blog and My Social Media “campaign” over a year ago on the premise that I would be able to influence my existing customers, identify and connect with new customers and help my colleagues understand this great big wonderful world of Technology. I can see my pay check go up so that is one way to see if I am actually influencing people…they also tell me directly that they liked this post or that…but there is nothing to identify if I am having a net positive influence on people.
It is important for us to take a step back from time to time and look at our efforts and assess whether or not the reward is worth the effort. I don’t use Klout.com in isolation to measure myself though…I also use PeerIndex.com, Namyz.com and EmpireAvenue.com and compare the ebb and flow between all three to chart my movements.
Why are there good, bad and ugly opinions about Klout.com?
The good as I see it, is that there is a service, that is FREE that looks to measuring my actions and activity. It does so by spreading itself across multiple Social Networks to measure my activity so that I don’t have to…that is a very good thing. The bad…well I mentioned it before…the system is played ALOT. There is an active “black market” on the buying and selling of influence to both inflate and maintain high Klout scores. This is wrong as it does not measure the true influence you have. The Ugly…there is no way of engaging your influencers and those you influence directly. Klout.com could be far more social in the way that EmpireAvenue.com operates.
Are there other options to measure Social Influence?
I have mentioned three that I leverage and monitor.
PeerIndex.com is one of the original measurement tools but there are not many options, it really only connects to a few Social Networks and looks at very high level numbers. The more Data Points the better but because there is no way to externally influence those numbers…it is a fairly solid way of measuring what is happening and the strength of ones connections.
Naymz.com is an interesting take on Social Influence. There is an attempt to build a secondary Social Network but is far more focused on the evaluation of professionals as it allows you to not only be measured by your Social Media activities but also by peer reviews as to your real world influence as well.
EmpireAvenue.com…this is a pure game. The buying and selling of stocks in people and their ability to influence. As a marketing tool for sharing ideas, connecting with new people in the Social Media Realm…Empire Avenue does a great job across the board. You can create missions that promote your site, your profile or really just about anything. I have been involved for almost 3 months and have racked up a Networth of over 2.3 Million EAvs (the Empire Avenue currency). I knew going in that the system was rigged but it also looks at your consistent and regular connectivity as people buy and sell your stocks and just 1 week away…your scores and value can dramatically drop.
So measuring Social Influence…is it worth the time and effort? If you are into Social Media to just connect with friends and family…then not likely. But check out my profiles, connect if you like and join if there is interest but I only beg of you…don’t play the +K game…it is my greatest Social Media pet peeve.
Chris J Powell