Quite some time ago I wrote an article proposing that there should be more than one type of Klout. That they should separate out professionals/ brands from ppl. With their latest algorithm tweaking, I suspect they’ve started to refocus their attentions on those ordinary ppl, and I don’t really like the way it’s going. That may seem hypocritical, but stay with me for a minute.
I’ve read a lot of articles about the tweak in the last few days. One that really started to crystallise my thoughts on it this morning was by @heycheri on The Next Web, via @MikeJulietBravo. Now, these ppl are well into their social media, and like many ppl observing the punishing drop lots of us have taken, they’ve got this idea that Klout has reweighted everything to make facebook more influential. Why would this be?
I have a sneaking suspicion, probably cynical, that it’s all about the user as products. (And now you may be beginning to see why I’m not too happy about this.) We thought of ourselves as using Klout, as being important in how our scores worked out, but actually, we’re the product, and there were too many of us getting high scores too easily, via the twitter medium. My score was generally in the mid 60’s – dropped now to 53. But I hardly use facebook – it’s where I have family and friends and keep in touch on a vague basis, and since I discovered I couldn’t link only one page via Klout, I haven’t linked my blog page. Facebook is personal, while twitter is constant – educational, conversational, escapist, self-promotional, all sorts of stuff. I connect with publishers and authors, geeks and social media experts, bloggers and PRs, friends and home educators and the occasional slightly random stranger. I don’t work at building connections or spicing my timeline with retweetable quotes – and I tend to unfollow ppl who do too much of that. I’m looking for something a little more real. I follow over a thousand ppl, and have about double that following me but I’m guessing I don’t really spark a huge amount of interaction.
On facebook pretty much everything I do will have a bounce effect. It’s far more targeted to ppl who actually know me as a person, although the amount of influence I have over them is debatable. It might *look* like I’m influencing them more though, given it’s a tighter knit network and more likely to have ripples of action bounce through it.
And I think that’s what Klout has decided to value. That kind of tight knit network that we all stand a chance with, instead of the broader, often work or interest based networks we’ve built elsewhere. However, there is an invasion of privacy issue here – many ppl on FB have private profiles and might not want to be imported to Klout, but are being given profiles and scores as a result of their links to Klout users. I think Klout should be being very careful – I know of a number of ppl who have delinked the two for this reason, and I’m considering doing it myself.
Disregarding this, is the new algorithm really so much of a problem? Well, no, probably not for me. I’m not relying on my Klout score to get a job. But there are ppl out there who were, and for them, such a drastic and unexplained change in the calculations has no doubt been a very stressful experience. And I think Klout ought to bear that in mind before they go around shaking everything up. And perhaps being a bit more up front about it all would help too. And on whether I’m a product or a person? I’m a person, and I’m not interested in being sold to a brand for the value of my influence. It’s one of the things I disliked about google+ and I left there, I may yet do the same for Klout.