Since I first heard about Klout, I've been worried people may use it as a sort of online "credit score." I worked for Dave Ramsey for almost 4 years and completely agree with his opinion on the "I-love-debt score". Unfortunately, people still use credit scores like they matter.
Your Klout score really doesn't measure how good of a "friend" you are or how healthy your online relationships are. Much like a credit score, this "score" isn't really trustworthy and doesn't really matter. But it will be used like it does.
So why is that a problem? Like the author of the ZDNET article above, my score (and probably yours as well) can get screwed up without a moment's notice. If people make decisions based off that score because they trust it, where does that leave us? I changed nothing in my online activity and consistently saw my score tanking:
For a while I figured the new algorithm thought I was "doing it wrong." I was a little curious about no Google+ activity showing up for my account and confused because I hadn't changed anything. Prior to the algorithm changing, my score was consistently going up.
Then all of sudden this happened:
I'm still not seeing any Google+ stats, but how come I'm "doing it right" again? That's obviously not the case and to Klout's credit, they are up front about their issues:
- Posted 11/28: I'm seeing a steady drop in my Score between October 25th and November 17th, what's happening?
- Posted 11/30: Google+ Update 11/30
- Posted 12/3: 12/3 Facebook Score Issue
That's all from last week alone. As it stands right now, I just can't trust the score. More and more systems are integrating with Klout but if the number can't be trusted, is that a good thing? Twimbow, for example, has it conveniently available every time you view someone's profile:
So am I Klout basher? No, not at all. If I didn't think it was important, I wouldn't waste time blogging about it. Klout has taught me a lot about Twitter and social media in general, but they still have a lot of work to do. For example, their "influential topics" is laughably broken. They are now trying to get users to do the work the computers are failing at by giving each other "+K". I think that's a good idea, but please don't share all of them with your Twitter stream. That gets annoying really quickly.
noun. confidence - faith - credit - reliance - belief
verb. believe - confide - rely - credit - hope
My point here is that the score can't be trusted. Don't let it turn into a credit score. If you want to know how well you're doing with social media, count the number of smiles and laughs you have between friends. Count how many times a conversation goes from online to offline and back again via your posts.
If your score is low, don't be discouraged. Dave Ramsey's credit score is 0 and he's perfectly OK with that. Learn what you can from it, but don't let it determine your social value online. Klout claims to measure your influence online. It simply can't do that today and so for now, by the definition, I don't trust it.
What do you think? Can Klout be trusted? Does "scoring" social media influence have any value?