Do you know your Klout score? Do you know what a Klout even is? No, it has nothing to do with your credit score or any of that stuff you plan on repressing until you graduate. Klout.com is a website that uses a fancy algorithm in order to map out one’s personal influence through the use of social media. It functions by tracking your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, as well as many other social media sites. Ultimately, all this personal information is gathered onto a line chart that assigns you a score on a scale from 1 to 100 with each score being exponentially higher than the next.
Besides being a fun site to check how you measure up, Klout.com is highly interactive, allowing users to award their “influencers” with extra points in order to individualize their profiles. For instance my Klout score is 51, but my profile also includes that I am influential in poetry and celebrities, because, well, I am. The extent to which the site understands your individuality sometimes borders on plain creepy. Last year Klout.com described me as being knowledgeable about olive oil just after I had tweeted about buying some as a gift. While some may like the in-depth tracking of the algorithm, many will be cynical of a site that logs in all the nouns you type in wall posts.
But Klout.com isn’t some Who’s Line Is It Anyway where the points don’t matter. Klout awards users with high scores perks for their participation. “The perks/rewards that I've won correspond with what the site believes I'm influential in,” says Chris Schretzenmayer, a Boston University junior studying marketing and film with a womping Klout score of 53. “So, some of the things that I've gotten have included 2 pints of ice cream along with several packages of assorted Lipton Tea Packets, Drop Dead Diva Season 3 on DVD, the DVD of The Adventures of Tin Tin, and a ‘TNT's Breakout Kings’ mini hard drive, and also several discounts to up and coming fashion websites like Gilt.” And if there are two things college students like, it’s free stuff and social media.
So is in the end, does this site actually hold weight in its social media distinctions, or is it another just-for-fun website that’s trying to cash in on ad money. “I don't think Klout is just a ‘for-fun’ thing, unless you get your kicks from checking the site every day to see your score pop up and down by .01. Instead, I think that it's something you [use to] enhance your social media experience… and engagement with friends, family, followers, and everyone else in your social media circles,” says Schretzenmayer. He is currently number eight in the world for top influencers in sweaters, right behind a fictional Rick Santorum profile! Sounds legit to me.
Klout.com is very easy to use and one can join with just a click of a button. But beware, once you sync with a twitter account, your Klout is married to that one account and cannot be divorced without deletion. This is especially frustrating for users like me that have multiple twitter accounts. But otherwise, Klout.com runs quite organically, and like the magic of Pokemon Gold & Silver, Klout marks your progress even when you’re not signed in.
The website is a great way to track how widespread your influence, but don’t stress over a low or high score measuring how good of a tweeter you are. Klout measures how big yours is, not how you use it. I highly recommend creating a Klout if you’d like to see a physical representation of how many people are processing your cyber-social interactions. Oh, and be sure to give me a K+, because sharing is caring.