You may have heard of Klout, a startup that measures the online influence of users of social media sites and generates a score based upon users’ connections and activities. Klout uses an algorithm to determine a user’s “real” social media reach, using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Foursquare, in addition to several other variables. In particular, Klout looks at whether a user is engaged within their respective audience (excluding spam accounts) on these platforms, as well as what happens to the content a user shares; whether its reposted/retweeted, sparks a conversation, or is simply ignored. In addition, Klout also analyzes how influential a user’s engaged audience is, as well as whether a user is influencing other important users.
Recently, Klout introduced +K (not to be confused with Google’s +1 button or the new Google+), which measures social media influence on a particular topic by permitting users to give other users authority on these topics. This initiative allows users to give other users a +K if the user influenced them on a particular topic. Users are limited to five +Ks every day that can be given to any user in any topic.
Klout has also been in the news lately since the introduction of a new Facebook integrating system in which a user’s Facebook influence will determine whether they have access to certain brand pages and other new products such as coupons, movie trailers, or other unreleased information or material on Facebook.
Some have pointed out that it’s possible to use certain tactics to increase a user’s Klout score, therefore making its score irrelevant. While it remains to be seen how Klout will adjust its algorithm to combat such tactics as it continues to evolve, Klout serves as an important reminder to users of social media: it’s all about consistently joining the conversation and sharing relevant and valuable information with other users regularly.
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Sources: http://techcrunch.com/2011/06/14/klout-expands-influence-scoring-to-professional-social-network-linkedin/, http://mashable.com/2011/06/02/klouts-k-button/; http://mashable.com/2011/07/13/klout-foursquare/, http://mashable.com/2011/06/22/klout-gate/; http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/is-klout-a-good-judge-of-your-social-media-influence/