If Klout is a dead horse, I’m going to beat it. I don’t usually like to write about social media topics that have been covered by virtually everyone in the social media and blogging space but since my opinions seems to go against grain, I thought I might share.
I read a couple of good posts from people who decided to delete their Klout profiles. Apparently it wasn’t an easy process and their arguments are valid.
Pam Moore wrote her post “Why I Deleted My Klout Profile” on SocialMediaToday giving her reasoning in 8 succinctly stated points. I don’t disagree with her. She’s in a position where she is looked at as an expert on social media strategies. For a product that is still in beta and has committed so many egregious errors, she simply can’t endorse Klout right now to her clients and therefore decided to bow out herself.
Fellow blogger, Kelly Whalen of The Centsible Life also took a stand in her post “What the Klout? Why I deleted my Klout Account.” Her reasons were primarily personal. As a mother of 4 children, she takes online privacy very seriously. For that reason, I applaud her.
I’m not here to contradict anything that so many intelligent people out there have written about. And I’m certainly not in a position to tell you what to do with your Klout score. I’m here to tell you why my Klout profile isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
1. I read Klout’s blog.
I never read it before two weeks ago. Frankly, I didn’t care. I signed up because it was a measurement that people were talking about and using and I wanted to be able to “report in” if necessary.
But after all the controversy erupted, I decided to read a little more about the vision behind Klout. I read founder Joe Fernandez’s post on exactly that:
“I get why Klout can rub people the wrong way. We are putting scores next to people and that can be initially off-putting. If you met anyone from the Klout team my hope would be for you to see that we are not elitist jerks but just a bunch of data nerds passionate about understanding the impact of every person online. We believe that every person who creates content online has influence on some topic, to some group of people. We want to help every person maximize their reach and influence and to be recognized for the impact they have.”
This resonated with me. I think they have the right vision. They just probably got lost somewhere along the way with strategy and execution. And the comment about being a data nerd? That just spoke to my heart.
2. I used to work in software.
I understand what it means to be in beta. Yes, it’s been a long beta process so far but keep in mind that Gmail was in beta for 5 years. In my opinion, a long period of beta sort of defeats the purpose. Regardless, beta is meant to signify that the product isn’t final. It’s being tested and tweaked and still evolving.
Behind the scenes, there are software bugs being discovered every day. Often really BIG software bugs that we’ll never know about. But I guarantee, when the big are discovered and especially if they go public, probably no one there is getting any sleep.
3. I might be a data nerd too.
As for working with data, It’s a very complicated issue. I worked on a successful Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system for many years and worked with very sensitive data. Private data. But the reality is that while developing our software, we worked with a test database full of very limited data. It wasn’t until we installed our software at major corporations using terabytes of their data, real data, that we found some major issues.
Recently controversy erupted when it was somewhat revealed that while Klout allows you to link up many of your social profiles, it only actually uses a handful to determine your score. They responded by saying having access to the data allows them to create the models to properly weigh and score those profiles as part of your Klout score.
As a data nerd, I totally buy that but agree that it’s something that Klout should have been more transparent with. Sometimes there is a fine line between proprietary information and full disclosure and I suspect Klout has learned their lesson.
4. I love analytics.
As I mentioned in my previous post, there are 4 primary tools I use for web analytics. I don’t necessarily need all of them but I could spend hours looking at the data. It’s fascinating to me. And that doesn’t even include the tools I use for Facebook or Twitter.
Klout is just another tool. Another subjective analytical tool like any other tool I use to measure my stats. I guarantee on any given day, I will never get the same numbers from different web analytics programs. They all have their proprietary ways of tracking data. And I accept that.
While I may not always agree with how Klout is presenting my data (publicly, I might add), I do love to look at it simply as a gauge of what’s going on with my account primarily in the Twitterverse.
5. My self-esteem is pretty good.
I’ve never been one of those to “work on” my Klout score. I check it. I get excited when it goes a little higher. It’s a nice surprise. I love seeing who gives me a +K. For me, I have no interest in how that affects my score. I simply like seeing my online friends express their confidence and respect in me for various topics. It lets me know I’m getting the job done.
6. I don’t need Klout Perks.
Oh sure, perks are nice. I really enjoyed my perk promoting the movie Tangled, where I got a little stuffed Pascal and a CD of the soundtrack. I also received a blanket and an iTunes gift card. I’m not in it for the perks. Frankly, I think their perks program has a long way to go to really be of value to both Klout users and prospective Klout clients.
However, if anyone has a success story with Secret Clinical Strength deodorant or Axe hair gel, I’d love to hear it.
7. Some people care about the number.
This is perhaps the biggest reason I’m keeping my account. I’m not on a mission to educate everyone out there as to the value of numbers, and which are more important than others. I get asked on a frequent basis what my pageviews are, unique pageviews, unique visitors, impressions, traffic, Facebook friends, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and yes, even my Klout score.
Most of the time, there is no room to say “My score is 58 however…” You don’t get to explain that you were sick for a week and your number are down. You don’t get to say that you were having issues with Google Analytics. You don’t get to say that your Facebook account is private and that your fans are what count in terms of PR.
You just give a number and I want to be able to have one to give. It always looks better than N/A.
The brightest and the best out there look at your numbers but they also look at you and what you are doing. They look at how you interact with your readers and fans and followers. They assess your ability to engage.
I like Klout because, out of all the tools out there, it does have a component of reach and engagement. It’s far from perfect and I’m far from complimentary but I signed up for beta and I’m willing to stick it out.