Klout entertains on multiple fronts: especially in people’s reaction to their “influence” measurement.
Back in November 2011 when Klout rolled out their (literally) game-changing algorithm, a glut of people wrote tweets and posts about how they were quitting Klout. If Joe Fernandez wouldn’t assign them the arbitrary influence number that they felt they deserved, they were taking their ball and going home. It wasn’t until Christopher Penn wrote a blog post pointing out that many unaffiliated businesses were using the Klout API to inform their data that the posts subsided. (Or maybe I just stopped reading) Incidentally the Wall Street Journal identified some of the companies using the Klout API here.
I’m not here to bash Klout. Their influence score is fairly irrelevant except to their bottom line. They have the unenviable task to engage and affirm their users while qualifying and segmenting them for advertisers. The real test of Klout’s effectiveness is whether companies continue to do business with them and by that measure: so far so good (I assume that the fact that I received an email from them indicates that they remain in business).
The Klout Communique
So I received an email from Klout yesterday describing new developments on the site:
- a new algorithm change that they are rolling out which purports to consider more data points
- a feature called “moments” which bears an intentional resemblance to Kred’s “recent activity” feature
- a nicer design.
The phrase “algorithm change” sparked my interest. I was desperate to learn more. Then I read Jennifer Van Grove’s VentureBeat report that 10% of Klout users may see a meaningful drop in their scores. In other words…. it’s on.
The Social Media Olympics Round Two
That email signalled the beginning of the REAL Social Media Olympics. The (one and only) event: social influence loss aversion.
If you want to know whose Klout scores decreased check Twitter. You will see some of the most priceless, vengeful tweets ever committed to the internets. These tweets feed each other, each one escalating the next, with a palpable tension and vitriol that occasionally can make you forget that they are critiquing a tool that qualifies users using gamification and cheap enticements.
Shortly after Klout’s last change, I sat through a chat mediated by Megan Berry (formerly Klout’s Marketing Manager, now of LiftFive) that easily could have been the most abrasive and tense events I have experienced in social media (Arab Winter notwithstanding). People were bombarding her with questions and insults, talking to her like she was the person solely responsible for changing Klout’s algorithm and thus stealing their influence. People love to feel important, and to Klout’s credit that arbitrary influence number affirmed these people. Some people kind of lost their mind over it. And it’s going to happen again.
I could try to interject some perspective or pragmatism into people’s reaction to Klout’s changes and it probably speaks to my lack of influence that it would fall of deaf ears. It probably speaks to my love for cheap thrills that I don’t even try.
Thank goodness for Klout and for the people who want to quit it – you make the internet a more enjoyable place. Let the indignities begin!
In the spirit of full disclosure I should point out that I am currently the number one influencer on the topic of David Hasselhoff on Klout.