To Klout or not to Klout – is Klout worth the effort?


What the hell is Klout?

I broke a sweat working out requests on my new Klout account. I was scared straight by an article in Wired Magazine (http://www.wired.com/business/2012/04/ff_klout/which talked about a corporate executive who was turned down for a job because of his Klout score… to which he replied, “what is a Klout score?”
Like any new entrepreneur trying to figure out which bus is going to take me to the land of success, I jumped on the Klout bandwagon. It’s making me break a social media sweat.
Not sure why I get this visual image of Hogan’s hero’s star Sgt. Shultz when I try to remember “Klout”. 
Is it because it reminds me of the Gestapo?
First of all – I don’t like the name. I keep thinking it sounds too Hitler-ish, and I don’t know why. Secondly, it’s creepy tying in all of my social media forums (not to mention having to create some I didn’t belong to, just to fit into Klout’s status report).

I couldn’t figure out a way to connect with Facebook without giving Klout carte blanch control over posting in my name whether I’m on Facebook or not. It does the same with Twitter. Consequently, my confused mother keeps calling asking me why I want her to “join this Klout.com” thing. This morning I posted on Facebook to ignore such posts because I’m just testing it out.

So, figuring I will change my name and get a new email account if I can’t disengage with Klout, I let them have access to all of my social media contacts, like a good little entrepreneur who wants to try anything to market for free.
So what does Klout do exactly?
In a word, nothing. But let me expound upon that…

It makes you feel good by posting a big red score on good days. On bad days it posts a big red low score that makes you feel bad.

I have become Klout’s dog. I do these tricks for some reward I don’t understand, but seem glad to get. On a positive note, Klout provides you with a neat, little to-do list each day. It can also show you how your reach with social media suffers if you don’t pay attention to it.

Plus, in lieu of easy ways to show progress with new social media efforts, Klout offers a chart and high-level analysis of how much your doing, and how significant your social media efforts are. There are certainly more important, more detailed statistics, but this offers a quick snapshot, the moment you log in.

Klout tracks your social media activity, reach and how many people are forwarding your info, quotes, and so on, from a handful of social media sites. You can view this activity on each social media site, but Klout kind of keeps it in a neat, little – somewhat meaningless – report. (I still check all views on blogs, FB stats, Twitter, etc. anyway, so Klout isn’t saving me time there.)
Also, as in the article in Wired Magazine, marketing people like me will (they assert) be expected to offer their Klout score as part of a hiring process. So, if your score is high (100 is highest) supposedly you know your way around social media and can influence many people. If your score is low, it means you have no idea how to make an impact in the social media world, and you’re a big, fat loser.
In my opinion, here’s what a high Klout score actually means:
  1. You have a super-high Klout score! Terrific! This means you goof off on your computer non-stop instead of working, because to get to the 44 score above, I had to compulsively post everywhere, and eat up about 15 hours of my normal workweek making lame social media posts.
  2. My blog (which is important to me, and a way I catalog and share what I learn) did almost nothing for my Klout score – so does content and time account for nothing?
  3. I did not make extra sales, even though my Klout score more than doubled.
  4. My teenager, who has about 4,000 friends on Facebook gets TONS of activity and posts, and would likely have an off-the-charts Klout score. Her posts are about which of her friends are dating whom, and what color she’s going to dye her hair next week.
  5. Negative comments get far more reach and attention than positive ones when it comes to social media. If you’re a Kardashian with a Klout score of 100, maybe that’s a good thing for your brand. As for the rest of us, we seek counseling when things get super negative.
  6. No one really knows what Klout is, nor do they really care.
  7. And finally, if you’re feeling super depressed about your low or nonexistent Klout score, keep in mind that Spambots have a Klout score of 25 or better. (I constantly wage war with spambots who leave tons of daily junk posts on all of the sites and blogs I manage – so much of my day is spent wishing spambots would die).
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