The Trouble with Tribbles and Klout

by Karolyn Hart

There is this fantastic scene in the class Star Trek with Captain Kirk mistakenly opens a hatch on the Enterprise and suddenly finds himself immersed in Tribbles. Troublesome fuzzy creatures they are and there appears to be no end to them. Oh heck, for the fun of it let’s ALL watch the scene. 

Classic!  If you are new to social media (or even if you are not) the creation of algorithm scoring tools popping up everywhere may make you feel a bit like poor old Captain Kirk.  Go on, I dare you, go and google “Measure social media success” and just see how many things come up. It’s the Tribble problem all over again.

A history lesson for you kids. 
Back in the  day there was thing called “Tweet Grader” when it arrived on scene I remember the Twitter world being all abuzz about this new tool.  Now, it’s basically used to look at how long someone has been on Twitter which is very useful in determining if the account is a bot or a real person,  but for the most part people mastered  the tool and along with that you rarely hear about it.  Case in point, my score is 100. (I still love you Tweet Grader, and not just because you think I’m perfect!)

K is for Kool!
Like most things in social media, there is always another new tool coming out to help measure your social media savviness.  After all, since 98% of people on social media are self-professing “social media experts” (I can’t help but roll my eyes here) then surely there must be a way to prove they have…oh what’s the word? Clout! But wait, let’s spell it with a “K” to make it kool!

I admit that I am only a recent Klout user.  In fact, it was just a couple of weeks ago at a networking event where someone paid me a social  media compliment stating, “Your Klout score must be like 100!” Crap. Now I have to know.  After all, I’m 100 on Tweet Grader.

Starting from Scratch
So I signed up, but my first run on this algorithm tool was miserable.  I scored a miserable 10.  Wait. What? How is that low of a score even possible?  One of the biggest challenges I have from my IT background when it comes to computers is that I know that I can fix everything, eventually.  After fiddling around for a few moments and not having the patience to go through all the settings, I did what anyone with QA testing experience does.  I deleted my account and started over.

This time it gave me a respectful 55 and I am now up to 58 , but it’s not entirely accurate.  My twitter (which is the basis of most of my work) is not properly connected so I am hoping when it does that I will pop-up to a higher number.

So what do I think of Klout? Well according to a Forbes article your Klout score is becoming incredibly important, and could even limit your chances of getting a job.  I will give Klout this, it’s far more sophisticated than most of the other tools that have ever come out.  For that, I give it the thumbs up.

BUT, and there is a but, I have a huge problem with anyone putting all their stock into one algorithm.  The fact is that Klout doesn’t score true influence.  It can’t possibly measure the fact that last week I posted a funny Facebook message about a real problem and had three phone calls made to me on it. Might I add they were from some very influential people who finding an excuse (any excuse) to have five minutes of their day with them is HUGE for me.

Here’s the other challenge, it only focuses in on the online world.  Does it REALLY show a person’s true influence? The answer is no.  If this were true then according to Klout (as of today August 20, 2012) Justin Bieber ranks higher than Bill Gates with a Klout score of 92 vs 90.  The Queen of England trails at 80, and the Pope only has an influence of 62.

No offense to the Biebs, but I am pretty sure that the Queen of England and the Pope hold far more influence in any realm.  That said, now that I know my Klout score I will keep on working the algorithm to improve my score and in the meantime, when people ask me what my Klout score is, I’m going to answer that I’m only 4 points away from matching the Pope.


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