I have wavered in my views on the value of Klout.
I think you can overdo metrics, especially when you are measuring the wrong things. But I do think we should try to measure the results of our efforts. And Klout tries to measure influence in social media.
If it works, it’s kind of like a quarterback rating for social media: not as easy to understand as Facebook likes or Twitter followers, but maybe more helpful, even if you don’t understand it. (I never understand quarterback rating, but somehow it seems to pretty closely match my views of who the best quarterbacks are, better than yardage, touchdowns, completion percentage, etc.)
So I’ve encouraged some editors to use Klout to track their improvement in social media use. And I’ll pay off a challenge with a beer soon for an editor who passed her boss in Klout score. However, I started watching and using Klout less after they changed their algorithm last October, because the scores didn’t match up as well with my sense about the social media use of people I follow. (I swear, it’s not because my score dropped under the new algorithm.)
I agree with people who find it annoying when people tweet their Klout scores. Gene Weingarten unfollows and mocks those people:
But I see enough interest and value in Klout that I’ve thought it could be valuable to journalists. So I was glad to get an email from Jeff today about how he used it. Jeff’s adept at using social media, and I have shared his advice here before on weather and writing leads. Here’s his idea on using Klout:
Good use for Klout: Wrote a column the other day about being a Mets fan in a Yankees universe. Went to Klout, searched “mets” (both topics and influencers), then sent @tweets to the handful of the “experts” with higher-than-average Klout scores.
Result was a few retweets and links … and our most-viewed story of the day.
Seems like a great way to help move anything in the universe of “features.”
Downside, I guess, might be that I’m seen as an annoyance, but I don’t think so: I’m sending people information on topics they care about.
I agree with Jeff that you need to be careful about not being spammy, but targeting people’s interests is usually welcome.
I would encourage using this before you write, too. You could check out people on Klout as possible sources for some stories.
I can’t publish this without acknowledging that Jeff was also blatantly sucking up to Jim Brady, Editor-in-Chief of Digital First Media (Jeff’s boss and mine) and a lifelong Mets fan.