Purely out of curiosity, I decided to calculate my Klout score using only my Twitter account. My Facebook page is locked down; people who search for me usually don’t have success finding me. My Twitter account is public, but I don’t have my name in my account. I am a very active Tweeter, so my assumption was that analyzing my Twitter account would give me some interesting results.
I clicked on Klout and found that I’d already signed up for it, but had forgotten about it already (telling, no?). My composite Klout score is 54, which is apparently a pretty decent score. Klout categorizes me as a “Specialist”, which means that I “may not be a celebrity, but within [my] area of expertise [my] opinion is second to none. [My] content is likely focused around a specific topic or industry with a focused, high-engaged audience.” I read this as: “You tweet about the same shit over and over again. You have a lot of @ conversations. Maybe you should take all this talking to emails and texts, bro.”
The second Klout factor is Amplification: how often people “share and respond to [my] content.” My assumption is that in Twitter terms, this is a measure of one’s @ replies and retweets; in Facebook terms, it’s reposts of articles, comments, and likes. My Amplification seems low- it’s only at 37. I’m not sure what to make of that, other than that I might get picked last for dodgeball in gym class today.
The final factor in determining one’s Klout score is True Reach, which calculates both the number of followers you have who aren’t spambots or dead accounts, and how often people communicate with you or repost what you’ve posted- some sort of amalgam of Network Influence and Amplification, perhaps. My network influence is 138, which seems exceptionally high. On the one hand, I have way more Twitter followers than people I follow; the following-to-followers ratio is about 2:3. On the other hand, I’d wager to guess that a big chunk of my dedicated followers are actually spambots. Hmmm. Could my exceptionally high score exist because I literally use the @ reply option to make evening plans on Twitter sometimes, rather than doing it in private like a normal person? Perhaps.
My skepticism about Klout not being exactly what it wants to be were founded once I looked at my Topics- a list of my supposed areas of expertise. My top three were “movies,” “groupon,” and “mississippi” (no capital letters on Klout). I’m originally from Mississippi, so that makes sense, I suppose. I am baffled by the other two. I am definitely no movie expert, and I haven’t bought a Groupon in almost a year. I have been live-tweeting my reading of The Help lately; perhaps this could explain Klout’s calculation of my new found expertise in movies, and my long-standing expertise in all things Mississippi.
Then I noticed that people’s votes can influence a user’s Klout. The reason I was viewed as being influential about Groupon is because one person gave me a vote there (in Klout terms, a +K). This measurement struck me as being sort of ridiculous. If someone wants to be perceived as being influential about something, they can beg their friends and families to vote them up. In this way it’s very clear that Klout is the big winner here- by allowing users to vote on what a social networker is influential about, they sign up more users, and have access to more people’s social networks. Those of us who have an understanding of how Klout works can view these Topics lists with a raised eyebrow, and companies with an interest in identifying users with expertise in certain areas are left with half of the story.
Diaper! Klout doesn’t even believe that I am influential about diaperS. Just “diaper.” Clearly this news was of paramount importance, and I immediately felt the urge to click the “tweet” button next to my diaper influencer trophy. (Read the following screen cap from the bottom up, as is, of course, the way of the Twitterverse.)
My Twitter pleas to be +diapered did not go unanswered. Thanks to the votes of confidence from some friends and followers, within a few minutes “diaper” had skyrocketed to the top of my influential topic list (along with, curiously, feminism: perhaps feminism and diapers go hand in hand).
What had started out as a long, solemn writing night had culminated in the creation of a mini-meme amongst some of my friends and Twitter followers, and I was officially more influential in “diaper” than in any other subject in my life. Not the three places I’ve called home in my life; not my political philosophies, intellectual callings, or choice of jobs. Nope. “diaper” was the new king of my world.
On the other hand, Klout is right, in a way. There is no doubt that last night, I was pretty darned influential about “diaper.” I actively engaged the people in my social network, and influenced them to participate in a specific act, all of which relates to “diaper.” Granted, I’ve changed the meaning of “diaper” to my own devices, but there it is. So who is the joke on- me or Klout? Klout are the dumbasses who put it there in the first place; I’m the one with “diaper” at the top of my influence list for all to see. I guess the answer depends on how much importance we choose to place on sites like Klout.