I like Klout; it is an interesting system that can be easily tweaked to work with the major social systems out there. Klout support most of the major systems such as Facebook, Blogger, Flickr, and others to try to put together a bird’s eye view of how your influence and supporters/followers tend to influence others on the internet. It is also fairly simple to use, as long as you keep up with those major social systems, you are guaranteed at least some sort of Klout on the internet.
The problem is that there are many systems that are not in Klout. I take a lot of pictures, but I really don’t want to use Flickr, rather I use Smugmug and Deviant Art. I post thousands of pictures a year to both systems, and get a lot of views, a lot of feedback, and a lot of social interaction on those sites. I use them because they are non-restrictive, provide ample feedback, and are geared towards photographers. There are too many horror stories about Flickr taking down pictures or shutting down people’s accounts randomly for me to even think of trusting them or using them. This puts me at a disadvantage in relationship to my Klout score for a decision I have made.
While they just recently added Google Plus (which is awesome), I wonder how much scores would differ if they provided broader support for other social systems. There is no support for Vimeo which has a much better video support service than YouTube (in my opinion), they completely miss on other viable alternative systems that should be included in any measure of social media clout and personal/corporate branding.
They do not incorporate individual blogs of which there are millions of them, focusing on Blogger or WordPress. Some of us really do want to manage and host our own blogs, Techwag for example gets thousands of people a month looking at it, and when I was on IT Toolbox, I got 10’s of thousands of readers monthly. But there is no way to incorporate that into any kind of relevance score. It also does not take into account syndication or other places my work might show up and where readers can find what I am writing.
To be relevant, to be inclusive and incorporate the broader reach of people, they, and indeed any company that tries to measure corporate or personal branding has to take in the entire picture. We are not just on the popular systems, many users chose alternative systems for many reasons. Again, for pictures, video and writing I tend to choose systems that provide me a more relevant experience in connecting with people. I want super high quality, I don’t want limits, and yes I pay for a lot of those services out of my own pocket because they mean something to me. Thanks Smugmug, Deviant Art, Vimeo, my hosting company, and all the other services I use and have used for years for providing awesome service at a reasonable price point. The problem is that because I have chosen this route, it is becoming increasingly difficult to trust the opinion or processes behind many of the systems that try to measure influence on the internet.
If you look at my Google Profile, you will find that I have 10’s of sites that I am officially associated with, but Klout limits my influence by focusing on a small number of very large offerings. I love smaller companies and will use them a lot to help them get started or because they simply offer an awesome service. Klout is very good, but if you choose to use smaller non-monitored systems, your influence measures for both people and companies are going to be incomplete, and in the longer run, give a false view of those influence measures. Incomplete information is never handy for making decisions, and it is time for a fully inclusive performance measuring tool that incorporates the organic and broader range of services out there beyond the “top 10”.
- Rehabbing your online identity (techwag.com)
- After Foursquare, Klout Adds Blogger, Tumblr, Instagram, Flickr And Last.fm To Measure Social Influence (techcrunch.com)
- Bot spanking for social network ranking (go.theregister.com)
- Klout Adds Topic Pages To Give Users More Context Around A Subject And Its Influencers (techcrunch.com)
- Klout Now Measures Social Influence On Google+ (techcrunch.com)