A few months ago, as we were getting started on this blog, I posted a ramblesome piece entitled “Don’t Get Lazy”. It was supposed to be an explanation (more to our writers than anyone else) of what I expected our content to consist of and the kind of questions I wanted to ask. Truthfully, it was too long and vague to give any kind of real direction.
But as time went on and we zeroed in on what we want to cover on this canvas, I found that similar questions were being asked elsewhere. This was encouraging. As I began to grasp the vastness of the Internet and my insignificance on it, I naturally began devising ways to increase that significance. I asked:
“Shouldn’t we get to know what our own consuming/producing power is on the internet? Is there a value for that?”
What a young sprout I was. Enter Klout.com. Klout is another social media outlet. But unlike the others, Klout boils down its usefulness with one (more or less) unambiguous tool: The Klout Score. Essentially, The Klout Score is a measurement of your influence across the other social media outlets you use. Those new to Klout have the option of linking it to their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Gluttonous me, I’ve added eight networks that I’m a part of. Klout then analyzes what you use those various sites for, who you interact with on them, how well you do so, and translates that into a number. Mine’s 47, sucka.
But here’s the thing about Klout. You’ve got that number, right? Well, since Klout is a social network itself, all of your friends have numbers too, whether they know it or not. And in Klout, you don’t have friends, you have influences. You, in turn, influence others. Hm. So when I joined Klout, I think my Klout Score was 25. I was fine with this because I couldn’t see anyone else that had a higher score than I. Maybe Andrew Overton, the bastard. So I was very interested and I decided I’d check it every day. On the third day of having Klout, my score shot all the way up to 42! I hadn’t even done anything to deserve this! And my score was then higher than Andrew’s, that bastard. So I was thinking “This is easy!” and I checked back and back and back day after day.
After the big jump, however, my Klout score never rose meteorically again. It stayed the same, a sad, level line on a point graph. This led me to believe that: 1) Klout only gave me that jump as a hook; they must’ve known about my need for approval and my competitive nature and they threw me this one little bone. 2) That Klout was really no different than any other social network and that they simply found a good way to disguise their goals with a somewhat different model.
This assessment, however, was one of those that I formed immediately in my terribly imaginative brain. I decided it was better to explore Klout than denounce it prematurely. I found what I needed to know laid out very clearly on Klout’s website. Eventually, I realized Klout had exactly what I’d been looking for in the way of measuring internet activity, as far as social media goes.
It also has quite a few useful tools if you’re looking to expand your reach across social media. Aside from a score, Klout shows you exactly what topics you’re influential in. For example, I’m influential in Barack Obama. Yes, this is hilarious. Klout also lets me know that I’m not necessarily influential in the topics I’d like to be influential about. I would really like to be influential about music, but that doesn’t even show up in my topics. Luckily, Klout lets you add a topic on your own. So, there, I’m influential in music now.
Another useful tool is the Klout Style grid. My style puts me at the intersection of focused and consistent, which makes me a Specialist. Every coordinate in the grid has a designation of some sort, and giving a name to the style of your influence can help you if you want to change that style or stick with it.
In the middle of revising this article, I had my usual panic attack thinking that someone else had already covered this ground. Sure enough, I found an article very similar to the one I was writing. But if I’ve learned anything from Klout, it’s that I’m focused and consistent, so I’m going to stick with this. To gain some closure for myself, I looked up the author of this other article on Klout. My search ended when I was given four options for a Michael Hoffman. Know how many options there are for a Sam Mantell? Well, I only saw ONE.