Wednesday October 26th, 2011. A day that will go down in socialsphere infamy! “The Great Klout Nerf!”
I personally joke each time Klout applies a change to their algorithm as it seems they slap some code in without proper testing and tuning. It is “A” benchmark but not “THE” benchmark. A data point does not define who we are or who we engage with each day.
Unfortunately for me I took a 8 point bounce which I do not understand and find humorous. I was happy at my range of 67-70 but overall could care less. I am sad to say that some people ended up being outright nasty to me because of a number that I have no control over. It was the first day I felt sad as a member of the socialsphere. A few people were beating up on me because my Klout went up.
Many of the responses and posts acknowledge that Klout’s algorithm changed and impacted scores but not many discuss what it really means or what the changes may have been.
A very basic definition of an algorithm is a step-by-step procedure for calculations. Most people do not understand or care about algorithms because they seems to techie. That is why I like to “momify” technology topics. In other words how would I explain a concept to my mom so she understands and can explain it to her friends.
In the case of Klout think of their algorithm as a bread recipe and the loaf of bread as your Klout score. They started with a basic set of ingredients using different weightings and measurements and a process for “baking” it all together and produced the initial Klout score. Just like a recipe you can tweak it and yield different results whether they be desirable or not.
It is safe to say that Klout’s recipe was initially weighted heavily on Twitter activity. Over the past few months they have been adding new social networks and applications into the mix. Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and WordPress to name a few. The issue is that Klout has never really given guidance in the form or “release notes” to spell out how those new ingredients affect the final Klout score. Without these release notes we are left to assume which is why people are angry. I consider Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as the primary networks on Klouts list for now. The others seem secondary and some even tertiary in their online impact and influence.
A few questions I have are:
1) Did Klout “buff” weightings on LinkedIn and Facebook activities such as public and private groups? I never felt they gave proper weighting to LinkedIn and Facebook beyond number of friends and connections. I assume the answer to this question would be yes as the only two reasons I can think of for my score going up lie in these two networks.
2) Did Klout “nerf” the weighting of Twitter activity? If so, how and why? I would say yes since most of the outcry is coming from the Twitter users.
3) If someone only has a Twitter account how are they weighted versus another person who uses LinkedIn and Facebook? To Jure Klepic’s point why should spammers like #TeamFollowBack who only reside on Twitter and add zero value carry a score of 77 while a professional who truly engages on and impacts the “Big 3″ social networks suffers in the rankings?
4) How much weight does a network like FourSquare have compared to Twitter?
5) What made one user take a 15 point dive and another an 8 point increase? Give us a few general user scenarios.
6) Did Klout test the new algorithm against a mirror set of data on a non production database before applying the new patch? Comical that I have to ask this but I have my doubts.
7) Are there variances that appeared after the new algorithm went live that you did not see in testing or expect? If so what are they and are you working to fix them?
It really is not that hard. Blizzard has been making adjustments to their World of Warcraft in game algorithms for years but they are very good at communicating to their community in the form of blog posts, release notes and forums. In other words they engage with their customers.
I could go on and on with questions and suggestions for Klout but in the words of my good friend Daniel Newman, “Who cares?” Klout has never defined the people I engage with online. People matter for reasons that cannot be measured in “Likes” and “Re-Tweets.” Here are a few of my examples.
1. @Fonadlo – he calls it like he sees it and has epic knowledge of and passion for coffee.
2. @MikeHaydon – love of Australia and a fantastic Kangaroo marinade recipe.
3. @JanetCallaway – her simple “Aloha” takes us all to a sunny place.
4. @MargieClayman – wonderful talent for content curation and the beautiful Blog Library she is so lovingly building.
5. @BruceSallan – loves being a dad, hosts #dadchat and of course his hat.
6. @JessicaNorthey – her weekly “Yeeeeehah!” in the form of #CMChat with guest visitors like The Oak Ridge Boys. How cool!
7. @DabneyPorte and @MamaBritt – Diva dust! Nuff said!!!
8. @SeanMcGinnis & @DanielNewmanUV – A passion for creating 12Most. The first true “collaborative blogging community” where anyone can submit a post and have their ideas shared with the world.
9. @MqTodd and @Leowid – the “Tooltime” guys of the socialsphere. They make it fun and easy to understand!
10. @PegFitzgerald – Uber enthusiastic personality that comes through every tweet and makes us all smile ear to ear.
11. @AngelaMaiers – her skill for putting words together to create some of the most touching posts I read is amazing. Stunning command of language and expressing ideas.
12. @JKCallas – Dives deep into the topics he covers and is always open to helping anyone in the socialsphere understand them.
Excellent examples of different forms of influence and none defined by a simple number. Perhaps today is a good day to dump your Klout and find your Flair. Toss the number and define your personal brand. Let’s call it the “BrandFlair Question.”
If this was your last day on Earth and you had just enough time to tell the world one word that sums you up what would it be? Would you give us a number because you care about your amplification or would you give us something else? Something that matters? Something real?
Got your answer? Good! Now go be your brand, not your number!