Klout – not perfect, but not to be ignored, either”

This is a response to Mat Wright’s recent post in his blog, The Wright Result.

I’ve been using Klout with my personal account, for over a year.  The result has been largely reflective of my use of social media – I was heavily involved in 2009, almost inactive in 2010, and have returned to the “industry” if you could call it that, in 2011.  (I agree with Mat that recognized credentials in social media are almost non-existent at this early point in time – more on that in another post).  So yes, I have a large network of influential contacts, and my score has been rising again as I have spend more time online, communicating and being a “thought leader” (man, that strokes my ego, lol).

Being quite happy with what I thought to be an accurate reflection of my influence, I decided to hook my new “work” profile up to Klout and see how far I needed to go to catch up with the “rest of me”, so to speak.  This is where it gets tricky.  It was easy to connect @NetscribeCath on Twitter to Klout, and then it asked if I would like to hook Facebook up as well.  So I thought, “Sure, why not?”  Klout responded with a dialogue box that asked, “Another account is using this profile.  Are you sure you want to merge?”  I went ahead anyway, and sure enough, this bumped my work profile way up.  I didn’t realize that this would disconnect @catherinenovak from Facebook.

Turns out that Facebook can only influence one Klout account at a time!  I have a problem with this, in that my work life and my personal life have a fair degree of overlap.  Many people whom I consider friends are also great business connections, and vice versa.  Why should I have to choose which account gets to connect with Catherine Novak on Facebook?

As Mat mentioned, it’s not “done” to obsess about Klout scores with other social media pros.   We’re supposed to be above that, all the while helping our clients to boost THEIR influence.  So long as our score is above [insert your own “acceptable” threshold here], it really doesn’t matter, right?

Thing is, it does, and it doesn’t.  It’s complicated.  My Klout score stagnated when I  took many months away from this line of work.  However, my base knowledge did not disappear.  Connections made did not go away.  And in the meantime, “newbie” @NetscribeCath brings with her the same knowledge and connections that @CatherineNovak has – they just aren’t showing up online yet.

At best, our Klout score is a snapshot in time – like the display on a digital clock, where what we want is probably a larger set of more “analog” gauges.  The best indication of someone’s influence needs to be viewed over a longer period, and in their offline accomplishments as well.  I believe that both my Klout accounts should be able to share the history that my Facebook account brings with me.  And people who use a Klout score to sum me up in two digits had better look deeper – check my LinkedIn profile, my blog posts, and yes, my Google + record, which won’t be connected to Klout until later this year.  Get to know me.  Take me for coffee.

Personally, I would never make a hiring decision about  someone based solely  their on Klout score, as Amber Naslund has reported on Google +.   I’d take it into account, but it’s very important that we don’t make it an “easy out”.

What’s your take on Klout?  How have you heard of people using it?