Klout.com seems to have become the latest butter on everyone’s online bread.

Online Bread?

Klout.com seems to have become the latest butter on everyone’s online bread.  Lots of peers are talking about it and using it.  Everyone here at DragonSearch knows their Klout Score.  Everyone that contributes to #ppcchat on Twitter has a Klout Score.  Even a lot of my friends from Facebook who have no reason at all to be on klout.com are asking me about it.  Until recently I have not really known what to tell them so I figure it’s time to look into this a bit more.  Here’s what I found.

A Measurement of Your Overall Online Influence

Your Klout Score is not an arbitrary number.  Yes, I admit I was surprised.  It really attempts to measure your online influence.  Klout uses over 35 variables from Facebook and Twitter to quantify your score.  They organize your influence into three subcategories, True Reach, Amplification Probability, and Network Influence.

True Reach

True Reach is the size of your audience.  Essentially, that is how many friends you have on Facebook and how many followers you have on Twitter and it takes the following factors into consideration:  Followers, Mutual Follows, Friends, Total Retweets, Unique Commenters, Unique Likers, Follower/Follow Ratio, Followed Back %, @ Mention Count, List Count, and List Followers Count.  True Reach can be broken down even further into “reach” and “demand.”  Reach measures how far your comments spread across twitter and whether they are interesting enough to build an audience.  Demand measures how many people you had to follow to build your count of followers, and how often your follows are reciprocated.

Amplification Probability

Amplification Probability measures the possibility of your status updates, comments, or tweets being engaged upon, and how often your content sparks engagements.  The ability to create something that others respond to and that it gets out beyond your own network are both important components of influence.  So Amplification Probability is about engagement, how far your engagements go, and the amount of activity they generate.  The metrics Klout uses for Amplification Probability are Unique Retweeters, Unique Messages Retweeted, Likes Per Post, Comments Per Post Follower Retweet %, Unique @ Senders, Follower Mention %, Inbound Messages Per Outbound Message, and Update Count.

Network Influence

Network Influence is the level of influence of your followers and friends.  Each time one of your friends or followers retweets, @messages, follows, lists, comments, or likes your content, the higher your Klout Score will be because it is taken as evidence of your authority.  Now here’s where it can get a bit tricky, because the Klout Score of your friends and followers comes into play.  The higher their Klout Score is, the more authority you are given.  So if given attention from others with more influence i.e. a higher Klout Score, the better off your own Klout Score will be.  The factors that Network Influence is based upon are List Inclusions, Follower/Follow Ratio, Followed Back %, Unique Senders, Unique Retweeters, Unique Commenters, Unique Likers, Influence of Followers, Influence of Retweeters and Mentioners, Influence of Friends, and Influence of Likers and Commenters.

The Clout of Klout

Klout ScoreAt first, I thought a Klout Score was rather arbitrary.  Apparently I underestimate the legitimacy of everything before I look into it.  Klout’s simplicity fooled me too.  About all one can really do on Klout is hand off five of the site’s units of currency, called K’s, to others, and this can only take a few minutes at the most.  These K’s represent gifts of legitimacy if you will.  If I give a K to say DragonSearch I am essentially giving them authority and I can give them one K in any area like SEO, or Social Media.  The more K’s one collects the more authority one is given.  After delving out 5 K’s to different people, there is not much else to do other than fiddle with your profile.

On closer examination, what I realized is that just because Klout is simple, it doesn’t mean its random.  Obviously a lot more goes into computing one’s Klout Score than I thought.  I wonder now how Klout Score will affect people in the real world.  I wonder if Klout will expand their metrics beyond Facebook and Twitter.  Will job interviewers eventually want to know potential employees’ Klout Scores?  How far will it go?