Posted September 8, 2011 8:32 am by with 3 comments

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If nothing else, the social influence ranking service Klout creates conversation. Just do a Google search for the term and you will see opinions that vary from “Why you should care about Klout” to “Why your Klout score doesn’t really matter” to “Is Klout a good judge of your social media influence?“. Hey, if they aren’t talking about you then you’re not doing enough, right?

Well, the service hit a milestone as noted in the company blog by Klout’s CEO Joe Fernandez

Today, I am excited to announce that 100 million people now have Klout Scores. While this is an exciting metric for our team, I think it’s important to recognize the broader implications of this milestone. One hundred million people with Klout Scores means that there are 100 million voices effectively leveraging the social web to share their opinions, hopes and dreams and shaping the decisions of the billions of people now listening to them.

No matter how you feel about the service 100 million folks involved in the service is a big number.

While this is a nice measure of success (on some levels) for the Klout team what it really does is speak to our need to measure anything and everything. There are many KPI’s and metrics that are very black and white and tell a story based on the numbers alone. Influence, however, is not one of them.

Ask 10 different people to define influence in the online social space and you are likely to get 10 variations on the theme. It only makes sense since the act of being influenced is different from person to person. Some are easily swayed and make sheep look like radical independents while others are just rogue and refuse to march to the beat of any drummer other than their own.

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Hence, the controversy and the resulting interest in Klout. Whenever you make a definitive statement about a highly subjective matter there are bound to be those both for and against. I find myself checking my score and get that little feeling in my gut when my score has fallen. The difference with me is that I literally do nothing to try to move the Klout needle. I care but I don’t care.

How do feel about Klout as a measure of influence in the online social space? Is it something you try to manage or is just another thing out there that you let the chips fall as they may?

What are your criteria for true influence in the online social space?

  • Frank,

    The biggest thing that Klout has achieved is put influence into the spotlight. But I think it’s also important to recognize there are many ways to define influence and discover influencers. With our Influencer Exchange, we take into account not only social media but traditional media, forums, and TV and radio transcripts. We take a topic-based approach to influence driven by opinions, which not only includes the people writing content but the people they are writing about and/or quoting. We believe this provides a more comprehensive view of the influencer landscape.

    Larry Levy
    Co-founder, CEO

  • If a website wants to rank me on some index, go for it — but it’s meaningless to me. Note the above link (and thanks for including it) was written by a guest author, not by me. The conversation comes alive in the comments, during which Danny Brown refers to why Klout considered him an expert in sheep.

  • Hey Frank,

    I honestly do not find much of a value for all these social media influence metric tools as they are based on some algorithm and we do know that social media includes a lot of spam and fake components. So, do you use it but with skepticism.