Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thursday Tools: Klout (And Becoming a Conversationalist)

For almost a year now, I've watched my Klout scores (yes I mean scores) rise and fall while I remained an Explorer. (Klout attempts to measure one's online influence.) While Klout occasionally has hiccups, it can be a tool for learning.

Last Friday, before I started playing with my profiles again, my scores were 28 and 34. My Klout styles were Conversationalist ("You love to connect and always have the inside scoop. Good conversation is not just a skill, it's an art. You might not know it, but when you are witty, your followers hang on every word.") and Socializer ("You are the hub of social scene and people can count on you to find out what's happening. You are quick to connect people and readily share your social savvy. Your followers appreciate your network and generosity."), respectively. (By the way, I'm pretty excited that I've graduated from Explorer where I was firmly planted for most of the year.) With one profile, I've earned 3 achievements (On My List, The 20s, and Klout OG) with 2 legacy achievements (25 Message Retweets and 25 Unique Retweeters). With the second profile, I've earned 3 achievements (On My List, The 20s, and Klout OG) with 1 legacy achievement (50 Unique Mentioners).

On Friday, I decided to delete one of my profiles. The profile I kept was initially linked to a public Twitter account, a public Facebook account, and my LinkedIn account. To complete it, I added my Instagram account, a public Flickr account, my FourSquare account, and my Blogger account. I tend to share on Facebook maybe once a week, Tweet an average of once a day, and check into a place on FourSquare once or twice a week. I'm more active on Flickr and Blogger - inconsistent on Instagram.

Let's forget score for a moment. Earlier I mentioned that Klout can be a tool for learning. How? Take FourSquare for example. Currently my use of FourSquare consists of checking into places to acquire badges. (In case you're curious, I don't post my FourSquare updates to Twitter or Facebook.) For FourSquare to impact my Klout score, I need to do more than just check into a place. Klout measures your power to influence others. A checkin doesn't by itself influence people. The actions they track, Tips, ToDo's, Done, do. I regularly review places I've checked into via FourSquare here on the blog, but my FourSquare stream is basically just noise. I'm not adding value to others who might want to visit an establishment I've checked into. Sharing my favorite entree or tip for getting the most value for your dollar does add value.

It's easy to focus solely on a Klout score rather than what that score is trying to represent. Maybe they should add a tab you your Klout profile that offers suggestions for improving one's information and encouraging interactions, similar to Statigram's Optimization view.

I'm glad to see that Klout has added an Understanding Klout section to their site. I still think Klout needs to reveal more about their algorithms. I know the argument here is that they'd lose their competitive advantage. But hey, did Google's sharing of the basic model for Page Rank prevent it from becoming a standard measure?

Today's tip: when looking at your Klout profile, think about the interactions you're having. Are you merely sharing information in an empty lecture hall or have you packed the theater full and are actively engaging a standing-room-only audience?

Happy Thursday!
P.S. The addition of my other social media accounts didn't influence my score positively or negatively. According to Klout, "[they are] working to measure are Facebook Pages, Youtube, Instagram, Tumblr, Blogger, Wordpress, and Flickr." Over the past week, my overall Klout score dropped to 27. The only positive difference is that I'm influential in two topics, Marketing and B2B, where I wasn't before.
Credits: All images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.