Klout has changed its influence algorithm again. But does anyone care?
Yesterday, Klout changed its influence algorithm again in the face of user complaints that the online measurements didn't accurately reflect real-world influence. And critics have been strangely silent of the change. Can that be because no one cares about Klout anymore? (Probably.) Or is it more likely that most key influencer's Klout scores increased this time instead of decreasing like last time, so users can't be bothered to be outraged?
I was amused to see that my Klout score went from a so-so 54 to a more respectable 66 (and I have no entry in Wikipedia, FYI). Spoken's Klout score likewise saw a respective uptick, even though we don't have a Facebook presence and only just initiated a Google+ presence.
Klout now takes into account Facebook mentions, likes, comments and subscribers; Twitter mentions, lists, followers and replies; Google+ +1s and comments; LinkedIn connections and recommendations; Foursquare tips done; even +Ks and Wikipedia mentions. The full list is here; over 400 signals are included in the super-secret, mysterious calculations this time around.
Much has been made of the fact that those with real-life influence are now more accurately graded as opposed to those who have simply gathered a lot of Twitter followers. Obama's score is now a healthy 99, higher than Justin Bieber, 92. And all is right with the world.
The change is credited to the inclusion of Wikipedia as a signal, which begs the question: now will everyone have a Wikipedia entry to increase their Klout scores and get better customer service?
The truth is that some people care about Klout; most don't. As long as the metric is owned and operated by a private entity that has a vested financial interest in people attibuting value to their scoring system, it will not be considered an impartial and accurate tool for measuring influence. It's a nice number, and it's not bad as a motivation to participate more actively in your social networks of choice.
But let's not lose any sleep over it, shall we?