Why Klout Has No Clout

You have no doubt seen people boasting of their Klout score, and how they’re specialists in their chosen field of interest and able to influence dozens of people on certain subjects. You may even have a Klout score yourself, whether you actually chose to be involved with the social media startup or not. It’s a shame then that none of it actually means anything. Klout has no clout. Instead, it’s pretty much worthless.

Those of you who have yet to experience Klout are the lucky ones. It means you haven’t been opted in by the company without direct permission, as many of us have. In a nutshell, Klout is attempting to grade us all by our activity on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. And it is adding more sites to its algorithm on a regular basis, with LinkedIn, Foursquare, and YouTube being the latest properties added to the roll-call.

Klout is meant to analyze how you as an individual interact with others on these sites and consequently rate you from 1 to 100. This is a good idea only for two groups of people: advertisers looking for an easy way to know who to target, and egotists looking for any excuse to show off how superior they are to everybody else. Online, at least.

The main problem with Klout is that it just doesn’t work. It’s like a giant Web-based game that requires you play by the rules to succeed at. You can be a bestselling author who has reached millions of people around the world, but if you’re not on Twitter then Klout will label you a useless minion of the non-social networking underclass. Even those who do play by the rules will find themselves labeled as influential on subjects they have no recollection in ever even discussing.

Klout recently boasted of reaching the 100 million users milestone. Which would be a phenomenal achievement if all those people had actually signed up for the service. Most, however, will have been inadvertently added and will never actively log in and take part. And God forbid they do so only to decide at a later date they want out, because Klout demands you email them to delete your account. It will then take 30 days to be removed from the company’s database, and even after that length of time many are complaining of still not being completely free of Klout.

To summarize: Klout opts you in by default, makes it near-impossible to opt out, doesn’t really work in any real sense, and is pointless anyway. I’d much rather just have a conversation with people using social networking sites than trying to build a score which doesn’t actually mean anything in the real world. Changing, improving, fixing the Klout algorithm will not make any difference. You cannot rank people’s worth in this way using bots. No matter how intelligent these bots may be.

I refuse to be a prisoner to Klout and its scoring system. I am not a number, I am a free man.


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3 responses to “Why Klout Has No Clout”

  1. […] heard time and again that Klout scores do not really mean anything. Do you feel the same way about the People Talking About metric? Or do you think it is a useful […]

  2. Rachelkennison Avatar
    Rachelkennison

    Thank you. I was doing a little web search to find out if there was, in fact, some reason why I would ever want this service. It seems like a fantastic way to feel like you have to compete at something completely made up. This article sums up all of my initial thoughts after looking at the Klout website.

  3. Daniel Haim Avatar

    “Which would be a phenomenal achievement if all those people had actually signed up for the service.” <- lol.

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