Contributing writer Rocky McGredy and I agreed that whoever had the higher Klout influencer score could write this article. His is 52, while mine is only 47. And while he's scored as a "Specialist," and I'm considered an "Explorer," Rocky still got to write the article.
Hey, have you heard of this website called Klout? No, not Clout with a c, Klout with a K. Klout is a completely different idea for a social networking site. I don’t even feel proper calling it a social networking site, because it seems like Klout is above social networking. Not in a pretentious way like, “oh, I’m so above social networking,” but in a literal sense. Here’s social networking, now imagine Klout superscripted above it. The additional detail may not have been necessary, but I like to imagine a Klout score eventually being displayed (yes, superscripted) by every social media username on the internet. I don’t know, a man can dream.
So, what is a Klout score? Why am I so obsessed with it? Well, as far as I can gather Klout is, “the standard for influence.” You basically plug all of your social networking accounts into the Klout engine, and Klout gives you a chart of how far your influence reaches across the internet. It’s divided into three categories: your Klout score, your true reach, and your amplification ability. The reason I find it so intriguing is because normally analytics such as this are only available to marketers, but Klout seems to be interested in the usage of such statistics on consumers. I guess the other reason I’m hooked is because I got a pretty quality score once I had plugged in all of my feeds.
The angle that Klout is taking on their profit strategy is interesting, too. It seems to me that they’ve made deals with several different companies (and counting...) to provide sponsored offers on their site. So, Klout gets paid for promotions and these companies gain new customers in a different fashion. The higher your Klout score gets, the more “perks” you are likely to gain. Aside from that, you build a strong network of followers by building a network for yourself. They’ve successfully made an ARG out of market strategy. Not to mention, it’s exciting to think of what this might do for internet advertisers.
Say one day you log into your account and see that your score has improved by nine points. All of a sudden you’ve qualified for a perk that gets you an account within a limited beta website. You tweet to your friends: “I can’t believe I got into ________! Thanks @klout! Now, who wants an invite?” All of a sudden you’ve magnified the effectiveness of an ad campaign. In the same vein as Facebook, a trusted source’s opinion sparks a chain of interest in it’s followers, making that company’s advertising efforts well worth that money. The best part? You don’t feel cheated or spammed, you feel like you’ve been let into an exclusive club. And Mom said you’d never be as important as Justin Beiber is on Twitter.
My excitement for Klout has turned me into a complete social-network junkie. I’ve all of a sudden started using Instagram almost exclusively over the built in iPhone camera, Twitter seems to be of great importance to me as well, and lets not even mention how many Foursquare check-in’s I’ve posted in my past month or so of having an account.
If Klout does it right, I truly believe that all of the social networking sites in this world won’t have to fear a future plateau in usage. Klout has invented something compelling and progressive to immerse users in their virtual outlets. Welcome to web 3.0, where the only change is philosophical.
The future: our entire personality listed in one google search of our name. Scary thought, yes, but since I haven’t been able to fly a car like George Jetson yet; I’m going to believe that our future is in connecting to people through a series of tubes.