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January 05, 2012


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Thanks for sharing actually that is really useful for me keep sharing with us....!


Very well said. I believe what we see today is not what will last. It was a first attempt using poor methods to try and understand what is happening on social. There are ways to start to measure relationships and interactions on the social web but they require more people building products that understand social science just as much or more as they understand engineering.


Dave, (Doc) and Mat
My post was not intended to be personal at all, but rather it was intended to highlight the fact that our profession has been astoundingly bad at clarifying the difference between measuring reputation and influence and developing silly algorithms as a proxy for "reach." The post was also meant to call attention to the fact that organizations (Klout being the worst offender) that are throwing out terms like infuence and reputation without understanding what they really mean.
Yes, we need to measure SOMETHING, but we also become what we measure. What shows up on our performance review or what we have to present to the board dictates our priorities. Is getting "clicks" and "hits" really what we want people to focus on? Shouldn't the "something" that we should be measuring be directly related to the success of the organization?
Yes, determining relative influence is helpful, maybe even necessary if you are a media outlet trying to sell advertising. But decades worth of research into influence has shown that most influence happens off line, is specific to an industry, market or network, and can't easily be measured because it is highly personal. So my question is, what is it that we need to measure?

Diane Lennox

He makes a point that we need to measure something. So let's just call it what it is. It's, well, something. What it *isn't* is influence. It's activity, maybe, it's interaction, it's one step beyond a volume measure, perhaps. But influence -- not only is that something not indexable (indexible?), it lies in the eye of the beholder. Your influencer may be my annoyance. You need to know the difference.

john wilkerson

I dropped Klout awhile back. Sorry to see that it is such a hot bed for personal attacks. Klout is going to have a field day resorting everyone’s score with all this new content about itself.

Makes me wonder if someone will now be crowned the King or Queen of Klout


Mat Ingram is one of the champions of social media in Canada, a very fair reporter and a highly intelligent person (as you can tell from his refusal to engage in your flame war.) I think you jumped down his throat a little quickly in your rush to educate on what Klout does and doesn't do. Klout may suck, but Mat certainly does not.

I think you painted him as some sort of Klout promoter at worst and at best as someone completely ignorant. The article he wrote was sound and balanced and I hope your readers click the link and read it before piling on.


Thanks for the response, Katie. I do understand what trust and reputation mean, and I agree that Klout -- and PeerIndex and others -- are not measuring them in any kind of real way, or at least not in the sense that you are describing them. But just as Nielsen and comScore and other measurements are useful (to a certain extent, and with many flaws) so measurements of "online influence" can be. I am not saying Klout is perfect, or that doing this is easy or even possible, simply that the social web seems to require it at some level. In any case, I appreciate your points.


To paraphrase MLK...

"I have a dream that my two little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by their Klout score but by the content of their character."

Anne Weiskopf

Hi Katie - thank you for writing this post: succinct and instructive. And, as one of the most influential folks on Twitter re: Judge Judy, I should know! :)


Amen. I also deleted my Klout profile about a month ago and am just glad to be able to mostly ignore the whole conversation about it now. Topics Klout considered me an expert on included religion (never mentioned it once either on or offline so who knows where that came from) as well as a few other random ones I've forgotten. If the world "needs" a reputation score for me based on a mystery algorithm that changes daily, I guess it's out of luck.

Kami Huyse

Love this Katie:

"I would argue that you are suggesting you are calling for the media equivalent of an hour glass to measure a lightwave."

This drunk obsession with Klout is making me seasick. And now they are writing books on it as well?

Return on Influence (http://www.amazon.com/Return-Influence-Revolutionary-Scoring-Marketing/dp/0071791094/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1325780822&sr=8-1)

Not really sure what this space is coming to, but hoping they don't reduce everyone to a single score.

Kate Hutchinson

Nice points here! I deleted my Klout profile in November and haven't looked back. I want people to treat me as credible and trustworthy because they actually believe in and trust me, not because a computer generated number told them to.

Brian (Cool and Collected)

I run a blog that focuses on pop culture, so I talk about Star Wars fairly regularly. As a result, Klout thinks I am influential on the topic of "War." God help us all.


Hmmm, I would have just said "Klout's algorithm is shit and is therefore meaningless" But your explanation is more eloquent :P

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