Image courtesy of of Steve Greaves.
People these days seems to be divided in two camps when it comes to Klout and other social influence measurement scores. One camp is all for it; the other all against it. The “all against it” camp features a higher number of people whose opinion on social media I respect and normally listen to.
I think everybody is getting too hooked up on whether Klout is valuable or not rather than what it’s purpose is. Klout score is not the goal; it is not even the journey. Klout is a small sparkly sign at the side of the road of the user journey gently nudging the user in a direction, but not pushing powerful enough to change the direction of the user significantly on its own.
Klout is not near enough precise to be a critical decision tool. One of the issues is that it tells me, as a user, how influential a person is in general, but it doesn’t tell me how influential that person is to me or the specific topics I care about. This is amplified by the fact that if I want to give a person +K I wouldn’t be able to freely choose on what topic but have to choose from a short list of predefined topics.
But does that mean Klout has no value at all? No. Remember only a Sith deals in absolutes. That’s the path to the dark side and not enlightenment.
There are nuances of usefulness. While Klout should never be mission critical in decisions for the reasons above, it can still act as social proof, no matter how vague. It gives people some weak indication on a person’s influence for them to then make their own judgement based on futher research, content, engagement, etc.
Klout is the pretty item in the shop window luring you into the shop. If the shop then does not deliver then you are free to leave, but the item in the window has served its purpose as soon as you step through the door.