Klout Is the Most Interesting Company on the Planet, and Here’s Why

Christian Buckley

Christian is a 7-time Office Servers and Services MVP, internationally-recognized technology evangelist and collaboration expert, and the Founder & CEO of CollabTalk LLC, an independent research and technical marketing services firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

  • While I understand what Klout is trying to do … they are a LONG, LONG way from where they need to be.
    I agree with your points about Mark Schaefer’s book “Return on Influence” as he is a smart guy by riding this wave of influence. He’s on the right track.
    It will be an interesting experiment here to see if you klout score changes.

  • I think the main issue people have with the platform are questionable topics. Klout has acknowledged some issues with there model around topic suggestions, and are working on it. But I don’t think that one feature negatively impacts other aspects of their algorithm…but its certainly something they are trying to address, and then o build confidence.
    After that, people did complain a lot when they experienced an early algorithm reconfiguration, and some people experienced a dramatic drop (and some climbed). That did not do too much for confidence. But people need to understand — and what Schaefer points out in the book — is that there are almost daily changes to the algorithm. It’s constantly being refined.
    Now, as for stats in general, you also have to remember that much of it is more art than science. A slice of data at a single point in time is much less useful than looking at that data trending over time, and in correlation to other data. Movement up or down based on activity is a much better stat than your Klout score itself, in my opinion.
    This is just really fascinating data to have, both externally through a site like Klout, and eventually behind the firewall.

  • Klout does have the right idea but I think it’ll be difficult to achieve a lasting goal as they’ll always be in a state of flux. As your post points out – they manage over 100 data points within their algorithms which they are constantly refining & changing. The weakness lies not in the representation of the networks (a graph theory application) but from the different sources that provide the attributes to the nodes & edges of the networks that Klout interprets to give its K-Index. These network sources – e.g., Facebook, Twitter, InstaGram, LinkedIn, G+, etc. vary by the information they provide (via their API). In certain sources, e.g. Pinterest – this information is not available at all and yet, Pinterest is one of the leading socal media network, particularly with women (~70% users) whose absence in the Klout-index would make the index less than optimal. In another example, LinkedIn illustrates (graphically), a LinkedIn user’s graph network – this application ‘InMaps’ uses internal data that’s not readily available to Klout (yet).
    So, it’s a right idea but it remains to be seen how well the K-Index will truly represent the social media network users’ klout.

  • Which is why I am very interested to see their business offering, and how they extend their expertise into the realm of closed (internal) data.
    While I agree with you that the sources of data are critical — good data in, potential for good output is high — but would argue that most secondary data is always in a state of flux. Primary data (user profile, demographics, machine data) is fairly consistent, but the interesting data coming from those ‘100 points of light’ matched against that primary data is what makes it all interesting, what helps you slice and dice that primary data, and look at it in new and different ways.
    Knowing that this secondary data will constantly change is what allows us to better map the changing habits and attitudes of our end users. If you look at the realm of online analytical processing vendors, the players who are best at the visualization of data are the winners.

  • See Kred’s scoring process that competes with Klout – http://www.socialmediadelivered.com/2012/04/18/infographic-klout-vs-kred/
    Another post on Kred vs Klout – http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottlevy/2013/03/04/klout-vs-kred-which-if-any-is-better-for-your-business/
    I like Kred’s ‘open transparency’ approach and having competing approaches is quite possibly the best way for the market.

  • Great post. I’ve thinking for some time about the Microsoft partner network and how social scoring might be important in the future. I’ve been trying to setup an alternative index of MS partners (www.partnerpulse.co) and one area where I think it could have a real use is in this area of social scoring.
    Maybe I could create my own score for partners (based on MS partner specifics like competencies, as well a Twitter et al), or maybe I could use a service like Klout. This begs the question.. is a companies Klout score important, or some kind of combined score from employees Klout numbers.
    Personally I think there is definitely something in this, just not nailed it down exactly just yet!