Why Klout Doesn’t Measure Up

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Golda Criddle
Golda Criddle
April 27, 2012
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Let’s talk about Klout. If you spend a lot of time reading social media blogs online, you’ve probably at least heard of the startup, which measures social media influence.  There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the startup, due to the fact that it assigns a score to measure your online presence.

What is more controversial is how powerful that number is proving to be. According to Wired.com, clerks at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas looked up guests’ Klout scores before they checked-in. High-scorers received instant room upgrades, which led to quite the buzz around the hotel. Also, a low Klout score supposedly prevented a man with 15 years of marketing experience from obtaining a vice president position at a Toronto marketing firm. Now, some are worried about their own (low) Klout scores.

Personally, I think that’s ridiculous. Although I am a self-admitted social media junkie, I must admit I was late to join Klout—I did so last fall when I heard my co-workers talking about it. It’s fun to check people’s scores, maybe joke about some of their topics, but it’s silly to make a decision to hire someone based on something so arbitrary.

Klout scores purport to measure influence, but when big tech moguls like Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg have pretty much the same score as little old me (52 vs. 51) you start to realize something is fishy. It’s also important to know that the same man I mentioned earlier was able to increase his Klout score from 34 to 72 in only six months. Is six months on Klout really equivalent to 15 years of marketing experience? I think not.

What’s even more disturbing is what it takes to raise your Klout score: a lot of tweeting and re-tweeting. This is what allows spambots to have decent Klout scores despite the fact that they rarely post original content. To be perfectly honest, most people have never even heard of Klout, so how can it really be valuable?

Take any Klout score with a grain of salt. I’d say it is only good so far as playful office banter and getting free perks. If an employer is concerned about your score vs. your actual experience, you probably don’t want to work for them in the first place.

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