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A mini ruckus erupted among the social community recently. The reason?

A change in the scoring model used by Klout to measure someone’s online influence.

Let’s backtrack for a bit. What exactly is Klout?

It does as its namesake implies. It measures online social clout through the various social networks one uses, on a scale of 1 to 100. For example, according to Klout, I am influential on three issues: marketing, B2B and social media. Klout’s website states that more than 100 million people have been scored by them since 2008 and the team, which consists of scientists and engineers, analyses more than 2.7 billion pieces of content and connections daily. This is based on:

True Reach – the number of people you influence
Amplification – the extent to which you influence them
Network Impact – the influence your network has

In Klout’s words, the new scoring model represents a huge step forward in terms of “accuracy, transparency” and “technology”. Not that this matters to the number of Klout users angered by the new algorithm – and corresponding drop in their score. While a blog post on Klout’s website stated that majority of the users would experience an increase in their score, I think it would be safe to say that a healthy number of users have also experienced a decline, based on the unhappy comments on that post. A quick check of my contacts revealed that several of them had experienced a drop in their score; I myself experienced an 8 point drop from a paltry 28 point score.

That said, should we be so concerned with a Klout score? To me the value in online interaction lies in the whole experience of learning from or connecting to someone new. Tweeting frequently for the sole sake of raising a Klout score seems to contravene this idea. While I find it fun to check in every now and then on my Klout score, I am not really sure that it has a huge impact on the real world. Will a recruiter drop me as a candidate because of my low Klout score? I hardly think so. Will a client drop an agency because of the same reason? I seriously doubt it. What I found more interesting was the fact that several renowned digital agencies that I had followed on Twitter had a less than stellar score of around 50 or below. Several of them were not even on Klout. Those who scored highly on Klout were usually individual social media marketers or enthusiasts.

Given that the value of a brand is based on the perception of their stakeholders, I would leave it to the individual reader to place their own value on a Klout score. Me? I’ve already made up my mind.

This post was first published in Incite People’s HR blog.

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