Klout is not about influence, it's about consistency

If you are not familiar with Klout, it is a service that attempts to define your impact on the web. For a free service, it does a relatively good job but at the same time, when companies give away products based on your Klout, we have a problem.

A few months ago, Microsoft gave away Windows Phones to those who have a high Klout score. There is no issue with attempting to give away products based on your Klout, but when the service is easily manipulated, you can understand that giving away products based solely on the score could be misguided.

Klout is based around your impact, how your content is shared and other indicators. After reading around the web what people truly thought impacted Klout, a few experiments were put in place to test the reality of what actually impacts Klout. A few of the tests conducted included not retweeting for a week, tweeting only links for a week, sticking to one topic for a week and other variants on these ideas. 

What did we learn about these several experiments that we ran? Klout is about consistency, not about influence. Need proof? We were able to successfully boost our Klout score nearly overnight once we were able to target specific metrics. By a simple combination of targeting retweets, sharing targeted content and only mentioning certain products, you can see the results above. The model we used was not complex but simply observed the trends from the experiments we performed and then we blitzed Twitter with our findings; the results speak for themselves. 

What does this mean? It means that Klout is far from a true measure of impact but it is more about consistency. Klout does have value, don't get us wrong, but just be careful what you use it for. Klout is purely about consistency which, at the end of the day, could be called influence but be aware that it is easily manipulated once you understand how it operates. 

 

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11 Comments

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Uh, typically that first jump isn't because "realizing what metrics to apply" it's because after you link all your accounts to Klout, it can finally successfully measure all of your activities. I had the same obnoxious jump from 15 to 56, not because I am a big genius who discovers how to hack the system, but because the system didn't know what accounts I used to connect with my friends until I linked them. Also, it's clear you didn't discover some method because your score evened out for the week afterwards.

Klout is a great resource to see what type of sharing you do, and to connect with other people with similar tastes and a similar reach as you have. The more friends with higher Klout scores you have that you communicate with regularly (retweets, comments etc) the better your score will be.

On a side note, that free Windows phone looked so good in my inbox.

You could have retweeted and shared different topics. If that resulted on people retweeting and commenting, your Klout score could have changed as well.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing the author, but it doesn't matter if we change our pattern in Twitter or Facebook, the results will be measured by Klout and you score will be adjusted accordingly, no matter the topics.

Well of course. Anything which measures something can be manipulated by changing the things it measures. "We found heating the thermometer increased the measured temperature," basically.

dancedar said,
Well of course. Anything which measures something can be manipulated by changing the things it measures. "We found heating the thermometer increased the measured temperature," basically.

I think they're talking about doing something more like "keeping the temperature at 50* for a long enough period of time will make it register 75*" which obviously indicates a faulty thermometer.

Klout is requesting permission to do the following
Klout may access my data when I'm not using the application.
Hmm.... nope.