Tom Webster, writing and speaking

A Brief Klout Update

Added on by Tom Webster.

iStock_000001430671Small.jpgSince I last wrote about the mysteries of Klout, my score has settled down somewhat. Today, my overall number on the "standard of influence" is a 67, and it seems to have only fluctuated a point or two over the last few weeks. That's the reassuring news. The less reassuring news:

  • My "Classification" has bounced around enormously. In the past three weeks, according to the "Influence Matrix," I've been labeled a "Specialist," "Networker," "Thought Leader," "Explorer," "Taste Maker" and now back (down?) to "Explorer." Given the relative stability of both my score and my social activity over the past few weeks, this variation is inexplicable.
  • My "Influencer Of" and "Influenced By" persons haven't changed since I started looking at Klout several months ago. Most of the former, by the way, are almost nonsensical. One of them I don't think has ever retweeted or replied to me, or if they did it had to have been only once.
  • Similarly, my "Topics" haven't changed over the past few months, either. The list includes things I haven't tweeted about in many months, as well as topics that I don't think I've ever tweeted about (Tribes?) Irritatingly absent from the list is Research.
  • Other underlying metrics, like "True Reach" and "Network" have also been static - and I mean static - for many weeks. My Mutual Follows number has not budged, though it clearly changes every day.

Why do I care about this? My intent isn't to pick on Klout, really - they are clearly an iterative company, and while I don't know that "online influence" is where they are going to end up, they are going to end up somewhere useful - I truly believe that. These measures aren't baked yet, however - this is demonstrably true. But, as Mark Schaefer reports on his (excellent) blog, {Grow}, social scoring is being used by businesses today to provide preferential treatment. This is unsettling to me, to say the least.

I'm all for companies engaging in experimental marketing tactics. But those experiments shouldn't make customers their guinea pigs. Differential treatment based upon loyalty or prior purchases? Fine. Differential treatment based upon a number that remains inscrutable? I'm not there yet.