Despite social influence being in it’s infancy, significant weight appears to be given to social influence scores and here at Klapp towers we don’t think this is necessarily a good thing. Despite the flaws in the current crop of ‘scoring’ systems, they continue to gain ground and credibility, particularly amongst the uneducated.
Social is about collaboration, conversation and reciprocity. Not self promotion and one way dialogue. One quick peak at the ‘Replies to’ measure on tweetstats for example shows that some of those with mighty Klout scores have very low rates of interaction – meaning they converse little, but tweet a lot. Usually a persistent stream of automated links and showboating.
PR teams, creative agencies and journalists alike are fawning over those with ‘high’ scores like servants over Royalty – using these raw scores for exclusive access to events, information and other celeb style elitist activity. Worse, there appears to be a growing movement to use scores such as Klout in selection and hiring decisions. A recent post on www.forbes.com illustrates the point.
The fact of that matter is that many of those sitting at the top of the list are simply not social, or even that influential. Another the recent post, this time on www.wired.com shows just how quantity of activity seems to win over quality. A quote from the piece:
“When I began researching this story, my own score was a mere 31. So I asked Klout product director Chris Makarsky how I might boost it. His first suggestion was to improve the “cadence” of my tweets. (For a moment, I thought he meant I should tweet in iambic pentameter. But he just meant that I should tweet a lot more.)
There are some interesting points raised in the article and it is well worth a read. Perhaps the most compelling paragraph is the last one as the author, Seth Stevenson, reflects on his experience of trying to raise his Klout score:
“Over time, I found my eyes drifting to tweets from folks with the lowest Klout scores. They talked about things nobody else was talking about. Sitcoms in Haiti. Quirky museum exhibits. Strange movie-theater lobby cards from the 1970s. The un-Kloutiest’s thoughts, jokes, and bubbles of honest emotion felt rawer, more authentic, and blissfully oblivious to the herd. Like unloved TV shows, these people had low Nielsen ratings—no brand would ever bother to advertise on their channels. And yet, these were the people I paid the most attention to. They were unique and genuine. That may not matter to marketers, and it may not win them much Klout. But it makes them a lot more interesting.”
All of which raises the question – just how accurate a measure of true influence are these tools? The answer, for now at least, seems to be not very. Our mission is to follow these social influence scoring propositions, to dig a bit deeper into how they work and expose the floors but also where progress is being made. Oh yes, and to have a little fun on the way too 😉