I rarely think it’s worth taking on a #socialmedia business – or any business, really – from a negative perspective. Pump those that are making positive change/influence and ignore those that aren’t.. they tend to sort themselves out in the wash, anyway. But today, when I saw the mess Klout’s made of the implementation of their ‘new & improved scoring system?’ (1) I’d had enough. Klout, listen up: You’ve effectively proven, in my opinion, that you don’t know a thing about me… or “accuracy” when it comes to measuring social media influence.
This is a major change in my stance on Klout; indeed, I’ve been a pretty staunch supporter for months. I really like the idea of social influence measurement. While my Mother & Grandmother could care less about their ‘social score’ as it holds no relevance to their day-to-day; it’s something that, if done correctly, has a real place alongside those of us that use social regularly for business & part of our professional identities. Social Media, and the real relationships formed in & out of it, is not an intangible. There are metrics that surround social media activity & so yes, we can identify real ‘Influencers’ – and what they’re influential about.
Yes, I had high hopes coming into the summer that Klout would be the steady, stable ‘voice of reason’ in this field. There’s certainly no lack of competition in the area: there’s at least 10 other services in the area… not to mention the “Influence Games” such as Empire Avenue. But Klout measured 12 different networks and allowed for more user-to-user interaction on their own platform than others; something I appreciated.
So, I’ve silently watched as Klout has struggled to come up with a realistic balance as it relates to defining “accuracy” in scoring influence. I’ve muddled through the multiple “score drops” – which were not minor, not insignificant – as Klout “tweaked” its system. My score, along with many others, reacted to that tweak much the same as you’d expect to see after a bad hit: spastically. Unfortunately, this latest “tweak” feels like much more than a ‘tweaking out’ – it’s more like a bad overdose that’s left scads of scores in the Critical Care Unit, getting their stomachs pumped &/or hooking up life support.
I had read the blog post that Klout’s CEO, Joe Fernandez, shot out last week; explaining the ‘method behind the impending madness.’ He tried to help us feel like we were “all in this together” by letting us know that the good people at Klout would have their scores a’dipping, too. He tried to soften the blow by saying “most people’s scores would stay about the same.” While I’ve seen a couple scores stay steady, that’s true; actually, with the over 100 people I’ve checked so far… most have gone into a free-fall. Somehow a couple steady scores doesn’t help me much with the warm-fuzzies.
Beyond that, my beef isn’t that some arbitrary score dropped – it’s that after THREE YEARS, they still are making big, ballpark changes. This is more than “helping people understand why their score changes.” If that’s really all that was going on; then our scores wouldn’t change… how we read them, the GUI would. That’s not what happened. For so many to see such massive changes; it shows Klout was (once again) off-base in their measurement of what accuracy really is.
Not that that is really a surprise; for weeks upon weeks we’ve seen pieces of the puzzle they’ve been missing. Like when fellow members of the #SMCDallas group were laughing last month at how they were influential in BEEF JERKY & Beer… but not Social Media (which they tweet about daily). Or, for example,how my “influence” level doesn’t really change in the space of a few days – like when I’m on vacation or at a conference – people who you interact with regularly aren’t quite that fickle. So when I had a nearly 5 point drop after #mRec, #HRevolution, and #HRTechConf? My eyebrows went up & I took notice – and laughed at the glitch. Because that what that is; they’ve not figured out how to factor reasonable time in yet. When today they told me I no longer influence my: Aunt, Sister, Brother, Neighbor (2), #TChat founder Meghan Biro that I speak w/ practically daily, I stopped laughing. Not because I took them seriously; but because I no longer could.
I get that there’s no way for Klout to know that several of those people are closely related to me; but that’s the danger in telling me that specific people are no longer in my ‘sphere of influence.’ That just tells me you don’t get what influence really is. I can influence someone who’s new to twitter just as much as I can someone who’s got a billion followers. And you may think my “reach” decreased by 275 in the last 30-days; but the reality is that I’ve gained nearly 390 followers – over 200 of which have 20 times the followers that I do & have been RT’ing me regularly… so… forgive me if I doubt your company’s accuracy on that point, Mr. Hernandez.
I read on Mashable (3) that Klout pulled a Netflix with this latest move. Well said, I think. I didn’t bother to find out if his, or his team’s, Klout score reflected a decrease in influence on Social Media Platforms… but I can tell you for #fact that their ability to influence me just plummeted – Klout’s influence is D.O.A. at this point… at least as far as I’m concerned.
(2) whom I chat with frequently and influence A LOT 🙂
(3) where I found the cool cartoon video about Klout