I am eager to be on top of social media trends. Accordingly I sign up for influence measuring sites as I see them including Klout, PeerIndex, and Twitter Grader. I am skeptical of all of them and do not put much stock in the scores.
For personal purposes I generally compare myself to twitterers who I admire such as @ckburgess, @kentfhuffman, @davidaaker, @chuckmartin1 and my other twitter friends: as long as I am in their range I figure I am doing OK. I am well aware that I am no Justin Bieber (Klout 100) or Barack Obama (K 90) for online influence…
My concern is that parties are taking these fledging measures seriously and making marketing target and even hiring decisions based on them. See a recent WSJ article about the importance businesses are assigning to Klout scores: GetKlout In reality, I am not worried that my tenure committee will pass me over for Justin B. or Britney S., but I am worried about how the growing influence of the influence-measurers might impact the SM communities. If twitterers believe that their online status or even employability may be affected by their twitter behavior they may well adjust how they act.
There is a well-known management dictum that nothing can be managed until it is measured. The relevant corollary is that what is measured will affect behavior: Bad metrics can lead to bad behavior! That is my concern about the clout of Klout – I fear it will cause loutish behavior in social media!
@econsultancy did a nice job of summarizing some of the flaws of Klout’s measures in a recent blog post: KloutDoesntCount In one study a BOT achieved a 50 Klout score in 50 days simply by (1) tweeting gibberish once a minute and (2) not following back new followers. @Klout responded to that study by noting that they were working on algorithms to spot BOTs!
In other words Klout would attack the symptom head on but ignore the underlying issue: do we want to encourage twitterers to tweet excessively and not follow others?? What kind of “community” will twitter be when everyone learns these winning behaviors? Do you find it worthwhile to follow people who tweet hundreds of times a day? Is it really cool to have 10 times as many followers as people followed?
Be wary of these developing measures. Do not make hiring decisions or overly analyze twitter scores unless you honest believe that Justin Bieber is the perfect (100) twitter participant and the most influential person online! And please, please don’t start tweeting every three minutes!