What Is This Klout Thing Anyway?

Occasionally, a new website emerges with tremendous popularity but also a great deal of confusion. To this day, there are still many who fail to grasp the concept of Twitter and may even become violent if you attempt to persuade them to use it. Klout is one such technology, and hopefully this brief introduction will shed some light on why some people are crazy about it.

Klout

As the name implies, Klout borrows its meaning from the word “clout”, which is all about influence and status, and in this case, the clout refers to one’s social media standing. Klout has its own formula for determining a person’s influence in social media realms such as Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, and others.

Klout (the company) has a philosophy about influence, stating that it “ is the ability to drive action.” When a person posts a piece of information, a link, or other media on a social media site, Klout attempts to measure influence based on the number of people who respond to it, interact with him or her, and share it. In doing so, Klout somehow produces a “Klout score” between 1 and 100 that tells you whether you are a complete social pariah, a social media guru, or somewhere in between.

In essence, Klout is an analytics web application that measures the worth of your social media presence in a way that traditional web analytics software would be unable to do. But in order to do this, it must “connect” with all of your social media accounts, which does raise serious privacy concerns. Moreover, Klout makes its money by referring those with high scores to its business partners for marketing deals. According to some, this all means that Klout has little value to its users outside of making them overly self-conscious about their online popularity or lack thereof.

Despite the critics, however, if you hang around Twitter long enough, you are bound to come across tweets from users who are either happy or troubled by their Klout scores. After all, many of them are small business owners, artists, or professionals who use social media for PR. For them, Klout definitely has clout. My social media influence might not be very high, but, good or bad, Klout’s influence clearly is.

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