Is Klout dead?

klout blog pic

No, not yet, but they’ve definitely been riding the struggle bus for a very long time.

Klout is a social media analytics app launched in 2008 that purports to rank individuals on their social influence. Kind of like Google’s pagerank, but for people. It gauges and tracks an individual’s impact on social channels. It reached its peak around May 2013—after Microsoft invested, Instagram was included, and their Perks hit an all-time high.

And that’s around the time when everyone was talking about it. Some loved it, but most criticized. According to Klout, Justin Bieber was the most influential person in the world—twice as influential as President Barrack Obama. It ran rampant in HR circles—potential employees being asked their scores in interviews—and losing the jobs if their scores didn’t measure up.

The thing about influence, is that it’s an incredibly complex thing. Not something an algorithm can accurately gauge. Even if it ties in all your networking sites—not all sites are created equal. And most people tend to compartmentalize their lives and personalities by the different social networking sites they use. Some for professional, some for family, and some for personal shenanigans with friends. They also go on vacation—leaving some sites quiet until they return. The Klout score equation is an aggregation of all of these variable sites. And if people believe that Klout will become important or mandatory for their careers, then gaming of these sites with artificial engagement will be at an all-time high.

But then Klout went under the radar again. It fell out of mainstream news until March 2014 when Lithium Technologies acquired it. Lithium added Klout to their portfolio for managing online reputation.

“With Klout, Lithium fully delivers on its vision of building a trusted online connection between consumers and the brands they care about,” said Rob Tarkoff, Lithium President and CEO. “Trust is the currency online. For consumers, a trusted expert provides greater confidence in making purchases and getting advice. For brands, building a trusted reputation allows them to better find and keep customers.”

And then Klout went quiet again—until recently. Earlier this month, a published news release revealed that Klout had unveiled another new algorithm that “users are widely hailing as finally representing them accurately for all their brilliance.” Yeah, that sounds about right. And according to the Social Times, Klout scores are part of their actionable takeaways from the Social Media World Marketing 2015 conference—aiding and inspiring new employee advocates to grow their personal audiences.

So, while Klout is not quite dead, it still has some serious soul-searching to do.


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