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Why Klout's Social Influence Scores Are Nonsense 98

Posted by Soulskill
from the another-system-to-game dept.
jfruh writes "Klout is a new social media service that attempts to quantify how much 'influence' you have, based on your social media profile. Their metrics are bizarre — privacy blogger Dan Tynan has been rated as highly influential on the topic of cigars, despite having only smoked one, decades ago. Nevertheless, Klout scores have real-world consequences, with people deemed influential getting discounts on concert tickets or free access to airport VIP lounges (in hopes that they'll tweet about it, presumably)."
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Why Klout's Social Influence Scores Are Nonsense

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  • by h2okies (1203490) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @02:37PM (#41541189)
    and will likely never will. From the last /. on this if people are hiring you based on your "klout" you should probably be looking elsewhere for a better managed place to work. If you are looking for free shit all the time then I guess a higher "Klout" score might actually be worth something to you...
    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @02:40PM (#41541241) Journal

      You could think of Klout as performing the valuable public service of identifying the sort of people who would take Klout seriously, sort of like those chemical attractant baits used on flypaper and similar insect traps.

      • by mozumder (178398) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @03:08PM (#41541581)

        There's definitely a "nerd-centric" influence for klout. It really measures online activity more than real-world influence. A big problem with it is that it doesn't account for non-measurable factors, such as power and art direction. In the industry I'm in, fashion, art direction determines your overall influence . And its editors figure out who have the best art direction, since the public trusts their editing skills more than computer algorithms.

        And you don't even need to be on the internet to be taken seriously. Karl Lagerfeld doesn't use the web- he still sends "email" via fax machines. The top fashion magazines barely have usable websites, yet they'll always remain far more influential than any blogger ever will, because Klout can't actually measure influence, because, again, computers are never going to be able to replace human editors at that.

        Klout really is fundamentally doomed. Klout can only work as a paid service if they can hire paid & specialized editors that measure influence of each property, which is an expensive business plan.

        The bigger problem I see is that too many Venture Capitalists are trying to find cheap computer profits to problems only solvable by expensive human experts. Sorry Venture Capitalist, it's just not going to happen. Go back to making money the old-fashioned way, by earning it.

        • by Gilmoure (18428)

          What is this "fashion" you speak of? I'm 45 and still wear pretty much the same kind of clothes I wore when I was 10; sneakers, jeans, t-shirt. Gotta love IT work.

          • by hairyfish (1653411) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @09:58PM (#41545171)
            We're nearly the same age. When I was10 I had flared jeans and a tight shirt with rainbow colours, When I was 13 or 14 I bought some tapered jeans and a black t-shirt. By Uni I had traded these for baggy jeans and a white t-shirt, and just recently I bought some skinny jeans and t-shirt with some writing on it. I expect sometime in the next 10 years to probably get some baggy jeans again and maybe a new t-shirt. I think this is what they mean by fashion :)
            • by Gilmoure (18428)

              What's funny is, now that daughter is getting into geek stuff (Star Wars, comics, Doctor Who), I'm getting t-shirts with some of the same things I had back in the 70's. For now the kid thinks its cool when I dress like this. I'm sure that'll change when the teen years start.

    • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @02:57PM (#41541435)

      Why can't we just stick to the system that has worked for decades? Judge a man based not on his Klout, but by his penis size or the value of his car.

    • by SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @03:06PM (#41541557) Homepage

      I prefer this: http://klouchebag.com/ [klouchebag.com]

  • by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @02:38PM (#41541205) Journal
    I bet my Klout score is near zero; my clout is not.
    No twitter, facebook, etc. accounts, and use pseudonyms in most places. But I do have a LinkedIn account under my real name.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    .. Is to judge one's ability to brown nose and game pointless metrics.

    So yes, they're able to pick ideal middle management candidates.

    • No, I'd say their real strength is their ability to score how many spammers follow you on Twitter. If you frequently tweet keywords that attract spambot followers, you'll have a very high Klout score.

      • by Urza9814 (883915)

        Klout does quite a bit of spamming on their own...

        I was getting constant requests to add their Facebook app before I finally banned it...which is annoying, but not necessarily their doing I know. But the thing is, _even when you clicked no_, it still redirected you to their website! Only app I've ever seen do that. That alone was enough to convince me that the company is full of jerks and I want nothing to do with it. Of course, the whole concept didn't help them there....everything I've seen about the proj

        • by dwye (1127395)

          leads me to believe it's created and run by a bunch of self-centered egotistical assholes

          And this is different from other social media and Facebook-hangers-on HOW?

    • .. Is to judge one's ability to brown nose and game pointless metrics.

      Sounds a bit like Slashdot karma-whoring.

  • XKCD! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @02:39PM (#41541219)

    XKCD says it all!
    http://xkcd.com/1057/

  • by Spy Handler (822350) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @02:40PM (#41541225) Homepage Journal
    and after it disappears as many dot-coms do, you won't have to hear about it again either.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @02:41PM (#41541249)

    If I had a person stick their Klout score on their resume I'd beat them with a wiffle bat.

    Related: http://www.klouchebag.com/

  • Backward News. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SolitaryMan (538416) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @02:42PM (#41541271) Homepage Journal
    This "news" is kind of backwards. It would be news if it turned out that it *does* make any sort of sense.
    • Re:Backward News. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by garcia (6573) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @03:00PM (#41541489) Homepage

      There was a recent job posting for some marketing company (I forget the name; I'm sure if you do a Google search you'll find it) that wanted a Klout score above 35 to be hired.

      1. I have a 48 Klout score and while I work with marketing data analytics, I am not influential on any topics, at all.

      2. If someone needs to have a 35+ on Klout, that shows just how irrelevant this number is for a marketing gig.

      3. The fact that companies are interested in this number means someone is trying to make it relevant and thus the entire thing is scary as shit.

      --

      While Klout apparently believes I'm most influential in the "Twin Cities", "Food" and "Games" and one could make an argument for the first two, the third is just batshit crazy.

      Klout is meaningless and should be completely ignored.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        I checked it out a while back and it listed "Style," "New Jersey," and "Typewriter" as three of my most influential topics. Style is clearly wrong, I don't have any dealings with New Jersey, and even Klout doesn't know what Typewriter means. So yeah, lots of meaningful information here.
      • It looks like that company was Salesforce. Quite frankly, I'm not entirely surprised. Their HR department is completely clueless, and wings things on a regular basis.

      • 3. The fact that companies are interested in this number means someone is trying to make it relevant and thus the entire thing is scary as shit.

        This can actually work, unfortunately. Look at the credit score, for example. Nobody wants to think/research by themselves, they just want somebody to tell them: this is good, this is bad and take away all responsibility.

        Stupid, but before you know you may find yourself wondering, if the sites you are using report to Klout.

    • Even worse, the slashdot summary says klout is a "new" social media service. How long can a "new" description last on the Internet? I seem to remember some laws about how long companies could keep the "new" label on "new" products. Seems that should even be shorter for Internet concepts.
  • by greggem (1044620) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @02:47PM (#41541317)
    But I don't really care what your Klout score is. THAC0 is what really matters.
  • How is Klout useful for me?

  • Caste system. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wcrowe (94389) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @02:56PM (#41541429)

    Social warfare is getting to be bad enough. We don't need to further relegate people into different classes. Do we really want some sort of Hindu caste system? Klout needs to be Klobbered.

    • Social warfare is getting to be bad enough. We don't need to further relegate people into different classes. Do we really want some sort of Hindu caste system? Klout needs to be Klobbered.

      Empirically speaking, it appears that we(in the aggregate) practically live for the chance to build absurd little social hierarchies, even when circumstances are such that the hierarchy won't significantly affect resource allocation... It's like we are just a few service packs away from being damn dirty apes or something.

      • Empirically speaking, it appears that we practically live for the chance to build absurd little social hierarchies

        Pfft... spoken like one with a 7-digit user ID. ;-O

      • by wcrowe (94389)

        That's a good point. Boarding an airplane these days is a perfect example.

        • We had a startup airline a few years back that was all business class from front to back of the plane. Every seat Business Class. The company didn't last long, and went bankrupt. It seems people didn't want to travel business class unless they had some cattle class schmucks on-board to look down their noses at.
  • Not impressed. Gonna go sign up now.
  • by Nyder (754090) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @02:59PM (#41541467) Journal

    title says it all.

    Any service that requires me to log in thru another source I will NOT use. It's bad enough i have a facebook account, but to actually use it, hell no. I hide from my relatives for a reason.

    • by Animats (122034)

      Right. Klout is essentially a promotion for Twitter/Facebook as a single sign-in system.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Not sure if this is a joke or not - klout is one service where single-sign on actually makes sense!

  • My Klout score (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    OK I'll check it out.
    tappity tappity ENTER

    KLOUT "Sign in" with Twitter (don't have) or Facebook (don't have) ....and I'm over it.

    I'm also bothered by misspelling Kommon words for effekt.

    • by Pope (17780)

      It's misspelled for branding reasons. At least it still has all the vowels and looks pronounceable.

  • I don't need some fancy new social media site to tell me that most of what I say on the Internet is delusional rants and unsupported claims.

  • by JarekC (544383) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @03:19PM (#41541709)
    C'mon, Klout is fun! Exactly because its metrics are so bizarre, it's really fun to check out yours and your friends' score, and compare it with some well known people. At my workplace we do it like every couple of days, and its like watching Monty Python. You can't keep a straight face when for example a guy sitting in the next cubicle suddenly turns out to be - according to Klout - more influential then the company CEO.
    • I'm almost tempted to sign up just to see what it will say.

      I'm the most influential person in the world on...designer ski boots? Oh yes, pay me big money, bitches!

  • A post from Cpt. Obvious. I guess you will be hard pressed to find people on Slashdot who actually think the Klout score really says something about another person.

    The purpose of the Klout score is, that some day people somehow will pay Klout for increasing their Klout score ;-).

  • Their metrics are bizarre ...

    ... if they were using /. UID numbers and ./ Karma and the /. friend/foe network and all that, I bet the results would be far more informative.

    I think /. should allow klout linking... I think it would really further my career to be known as highly influential WRT goatse, TRS-80s, and being grouchy.

  • Klout scores have real-world consequences, with people deemed influential getting discounts on concert tickets or free access to airport VIP lounges

    Wow, that's some really horrible real-world consequences... Can we move along...

  • by SvnLyrBrto (62138) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @04:50PM (#41542719)

    Warren Buffett and Bill Gates have lower Klout scores than Justin Bieber. Until this summer, so did President Obama. And as far as I could tell, Steve Jobs never had Klout at all. And this is a metric that I'm supposed to take seriously? I think not.

  • by sumdumass (711423) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @05:54PM (#41543425) Journal

    Did anyone else read this and think it was just some sort of inside joke or coy insult to insinuate Tynan blows a lot of smoke up things?

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