This post started out as a comment on Aaron Biebert’s post, grew some and ended up on this blog.

To Aaron et al.,
I am curious about a few things. Perhaps you and/or others, can clear it up for me.

Klout right now:

1) Klout’s Twitter centricity.

I know Klout now connects to other social networks but Twitter still seems to be the primary mover of Klout scores.
Have you tried ignoring twitter for 4-5 days and totally rocking it on Facebook? I suspect your Klout score will drop (as it did in my tests). Maybe Klout does not have access to Facebook’s walled garden.

I could be wrong though, so would like to hear from others; Anyone with a high Klout score who is NOT active (maybe tweeting a cpl of times a week) on Twitter?

2) Current social media trends

If #1 is true then your hypothesis would lose some steam.


  • Twitter is considered the most important social network
  • Everyone who is influential is expected to have an active twitter account

But really, even in the US what exactly is the %age of active twitter users among internet users? 13%?

3) Evolutionary trends in social media  and technology

  • New, emerging and/or competing social media networks could undermine or even grow more popular than twitter (e.g: Google +).
  • Will they open up to Klout? To what extent? e.g: Will the influence metrics within a private FB ‘group’  or G+ ‘circle’, like a high school or health-issue related community, be measured?
  • What about paradigm shifts in computing? More on this below.

4) Can there really be a single Standard of Influence?

Regardless of the above points, how do you reduce a concept like influence, which is inherently relative, to a couple of numbers? Data and analytics, currently measured by Klout are inadequate.
e.g.: I am more familiar with Mark Schaefer than with you. If @biebert has a Klout of 90 and if @markwschaefer has a klout of 75 , even if for the same subject (social media). And both of you gave a call to action on the same topic, I am more likely to respond to Mark’s call than yours.

I guess data and analytics at the micro level, a person-person influence meter rather than an absolute number, would be the way of the future. The current self-proclaimed ‘Standard’ of Influence is far from that and thus, imho, fatally flawed. Even misleading, if taken at what it proclaims to be.

I suppose, we could consider that Klout will be in beta mode for a while, while these things are figured out. You are after all, really talking about the future, Web 3.0

The Klout to come

5) Will you be out-klouted soon?

You already prefer to respond, to the Klout endowed over the poorly Klouted. You have derived conclusions about the growth of Klout from this behavioral shift.

If the growth of Klout (or similar) is inevitable (as you say), so then is the fact that organizations with sufficient resources will soon have higher Klout numbers than a blogger like @biebert or @markwschaefer. After all, most entities will have to make sure that adequate resources are allocated towards boosting Klout numbers. Data can be gamed.

Where will this rabbit hole lead to? Back to square one; systems of  ‘influence’ as it was before the ‘Trust agent‘? Where those with resources, again, become the most influential?

Will ‘Trust agents’ face a choice between obscurity and selling out to highest bidders? Will influence metrics then end the social media revolution?

6) Deeper down the rabbit hole

Right now, there is great global uncertainty in political, economic and social systems.  Aren’t all your assumptions on the future of influence metrics like Klout, made on the basis that these established systems remain mostly unchanged?.

What if coming changes force us NOT to rebuild the older pattern of ‘influence’. It did not work that well the last time. There is enough pain all around.

Seems like very shaky ground to build a case for an unsubstantiated and fuzzy metric like Klout.

What if Klout (and similar) is the disrupted instead of the disruptee (like you make it out to be)? What if cognitive computing changes the way online information is created and accessed?

Too many loose ends

The current validity of these influence metrics are ill defined. Their future utility is mired in the uncertainty of innumerable variables. Can you be sure, without any doubt whatsoever, that Klout  should and will matter as much as you say?

If you’re not that sure, should we let it matter, right now?

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