Dear Klout and the data gurus behind the “much improved” algorithm,
I remember back when you first hit the social media scene. We bloggers and heavy social media users flocked to your site, signing up for an account and linking our Facebook profiles. We wondered what our score be. How will we stack up against one another? What did we need to do to improve our Klout? What kind of score did Oprah have? Or Justin Bieber? There was some merit to what you were trying to do. Social is a big deal now and you were trying to create a smart metric to measure that social influence.
As time went by, you introduced Klout topics, more platforms to link up and the ability for your users to award others with +K. This is when my doubts grew. First of all, too many users had at least 1 topic that made no sense (Me tweeting about the Cincinnati Reds?!?). Second, one Twitterer giving someone else a +K for a topic they were supposedly influenced about? Friends immediately ganged up on one another in order to make a user influential on ridiculous topics like Kim Kardashian or boobs. And third, while I think you cleverly created a sense of urgency amongst many users with the giving of +K, most of us knew that it was a move that had more to do with pageviews and publicity than anything of merit or true analysis.
You became the butt of all too many a Twitter joke. And an entire Twitter handle was born in opposition to your inaccuracy.
Just last week your blog announced that a “more accurate” algorithm was being introduced and that the “majority of users will see their Scores stay the same or go up”.
But why did the most heavily-involved and heavily-connected users’ scores actually decrease? And decrease by a substantial amount?
And how do you explain those scores belonging to users who have no clue about Klout and have no other social media presence outside of a personal Facebook account, shooting up to the high 30s? More than a couple bloggers have told me they have a sister or aunt or someone they know who is totally clueless about the term “social media”, who are suddenly sporting Klout scores pretty close to their own?
Here’s my personal case in point.
My main Twitter handle is @BelleBeanDog. I’ve had it for quite some time, logged roughly 38,000 tweets and have over 3,200 followers. I regularly interact with people, have my tweets retweeted and all the important engagement-type stuff. I also have my blog’s Facebook fan page, Google+ profile, Instagram, FourSquare, YouTube AND LinkedIn accounts connected to this Klout account. My Klout score* with your algorithm change is now 52 (Full disclosure: It was 63 before the change, a drop of 11 pts).
A few months ago I started a second Twitter handle, in my own name (cuz face it…am I really going to be @BelleBeanDog forever?). @LizJostes has only my personal Facebook account connected to it. I log, on average, just 1 tweet a day and get ZERO engagement on that account. But with the new algorithm? My Klout score increased to 53* (I think my previous score was 49. I’m not sure since I barely use this account).
Yep, that’s right.
My barely-used-barely-connected-and-zero-engagement @LizJostes Klout score is higher by 1 point.
Not only does this not make sense, but to me it’s the final nail in the casket of Klout’s kredibility.
And speaking of Kred-ibility, how do you think your algorithm will stack up against your soon-to-be-launched competitor, Kred?
A heavy social media user who used to think you had some merit
So tell me, what are your thoughts on Klout? Have your thoughts changed over time?
*Klout scores as of 10.28.11
**The Klout score of @BelleBeanDog dropped to 51 as of 10.30.11
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