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Klout scores can be gamed: here’s how you can do it

Many legitimate social media experts will tell you behind closed doors that Klout scores can be gamed, but won’t go public with how – until now.

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Increase your Klout score by 10 to 15 points

I recently did something on Klout that increased my score immediately and it got me to wondering – did I accidentally stumble on a way to game Klout? I suddenly got scared that Klout would blacklist me or scrutinize a score I’ve earned over the years, not by paying attention to my Klout score (which I confess, I sometimes do), but by natural daily social media activities.

Many of the top tier social media strategists joke about Klout and call it useless, but I have continued to pay attention because some professionals truly check Klout scores to legitimize a conference speaker, author, journalist, or advisor, as has happened to me – therefore, “useless” or not, some people insist on using it as validation of expertise.

So we tracked down someone who games their Klout score

I asked these strategists and experts why they were against Klout and many said it was because it could be gamed. But little information can be found with a Google search about influencing your Klout score, and none of the experts would talk. Until now.

We found a social media expert (we don’t use the term lightly, she is a globally renowned social media expert) who was willing to tell us how Klout scores can be gamed and influenced, but she wasn’t willing to go on the record. She also thought Klout would punish her or she would lose her standing in the community, but felt so strongly that the word should get out about the fact that scores can be gamed.

For the record, I did not and will not use any of these methods to influence my Klout score, because they involve a lot of effort over a period of time, and I prefer my score to be legitimate. But this expert and I agreed that exposing these techniques could actually help Klout to improve their algorithm and shed some light for our readers on how the guru ninja mavens are playing with their scores to make themselves appear more influential than they really are.

Trick #1: Klout + Klout

The instinct most people have when they sign up for Klout is to attach every single social network available to it in hopes of improving the almighty Klout score, but the truth is that it can backfire.

While not a trick, few people know that by disconnecting your less active social networks can improve your score in short order, the expert tells us. Even if it feels counter-intuitive.

Trick #2: Twitter + Klout

The expert told us that she sets her Triberr account to update Twitter every 30 minutes, all day. She says she queues up 48 or more updates to Triberr every morning – updates from her blog, stories she read in her RSS feed, things she came across during her morning reading, and so forth.

What this does is increases your level of activity on Twitter, but there is a caveat – she notes that how many followers you have appears to change how impactful this move is, and crossing the 10,000 follower threshold seems to increase the effectiveness of this method improving your Klout score.

Trick #3: Facebook + Klout

As with all of these tricks, we hate telling you how to do these, but this one is particularly painful because it exposes why those of us with naturally high Klout scores get tagged in Facebook updates so frequently, in hopes that we will interact on someone’s page.

The expert says that if you post something on Facebook and get 40 comments from people with low Klout scores, your Klout score isn’t altered, even though so many people interacted, because guess who is obsessed with Klout scores more than the social media ninja gurus? Klout. If you have 20 comments from people with high Klout scores, you will improve your Klout score. Hence, why people with high Klout scores are being tagged to comment on status updates by social climbers.

Less tricky is the fact that having a status update that earns 75 or more likes will improve your Klout score, so you’ll see people concerned with their Klout score post salacious content and solicit likes (“LIKE if you are a cat or dog person,” or “LIKE if you think racism is bad” and so forth).

Trick #4: Google+ + Klout

Google+ is apparently less complicated and Klout is “happy if you’re a one-hit wonder,” the expert confided.

She says that it appears the magic combination is sharing pictures and being added to as many circles as possible (frequently done by adding other people first, hoping for attribution). Once your “success” on Google+ has been achieved, as long as you stay relatively active on G+, it doesn’t matter if you game your score again, unlike Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. So, once you jack up your score with G+, you’re golden.

Trick #5: Instagram + Klout

We thought this trick was pretty tricky – apparently, if you post four photos per day, four hours apart, and they have heavy activity (likes and comments), your score will skyrocket in less than a day.

Easy, right? Of course not, it takes a bit of work to get people to interact with you on Instagram, especially if you’re new. But it’s doable and you can’t go about it blindly.

The expert confessed that a major part of her Klout score gaming strategy is hashtagging. Bleh, right? Here’s how it works – download Tagstagram which will add a ton of the most active hashtags (hashtags being used the most and getting the most likes at that moment) to your photos. Shady, right? Sure, but a lot of people do this, even if the hashtags are not related to the picture, taking a page right out of teen America’s playbook.

But you’re an adult and taking a duck-faced selfie is out of the question, so the expert told us that taking pictures of sunsets, sunrises, and stuff by water, then using Tagstagram to add a plethora of popular tags will increase your score dramatically. She admits this strategy has annoyed people, so she goes back later that day and deletes the picture or removes the hashtags, which seems to have calmed the masses.

She also spends a few minutes a day checking out users who are active at the same time she is (people posting pictures using the popular hashtags), and she favorites up to 100 pictures, knowing that they’re on Instagram at that moment, and likely to return the favor by liking her pictures (hence bumping her Klout score).

It takes work, but it can be done

While most people with high Klout scores earned them by being active online, there are people who are gaming the system to increase their score, using these and other methods. The expert told us that combining these efforts can increase your Klout score by 15 points, but she keeps her score at 79, noting that 80 seems to be the magic number wherein people constantly request you to retweet them since you’re mega-powerful now, or tag you in endless Facebook posts so your score influences theirs.

These “tricks” require some time and setup, but this expert says she can control her Klout score, and others told us off the record that they can do the same.

Perhaps this story will help Klout shore up their algorithm so it can’t be gamed, and the fakers’ scores are reduced to reflect their natural level of online influence, or perhaps this will show the masses that it is just a score and shouldn’t be the deciding factor in hiring a strategist or keynote speaker.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Hank Miller

    November 27, 2013 at 5:52 am

    I set up a Klout account about a week ago, I’m presently a 39 and it looks like I’m adding points since setting it up. The only reason I did that was because I’d heard it “matters”, OK. While it can’t hurt, I don’t see Klout as a game changer when considering an agents entire body of work. I’m not up at night wondering about Klout.

    The obsession with social media and “scores” is fascinating for all the wrong reasons. In this arena especially, so much potential business seems to hinge on everything except actually “doing business” – selling the sizzle as opposed to the steak. A significant amount of my work comes from the internet (much more focused and prepared clients) so I maintain a significant and active presence here. However, where’s the tipping point between posting nonsense to raise scores and actually being a skilled, productive agent? It’s getting like some schools where the graduates are fantastic except that they can’t effectively write, speak or complete basic math?

    Klout may matter with some businesses but ours is a pretty simple one with a fairly obvious objective. The information on internet and the ability of Joe Buyer and Susan Seller to pull the curtain back on this industry
    is fantastic, I’m happy to see this force change with how things are done with real estate. I hope this transparancy waves continues to push ineffective hack agents out and make the public smarter when it comes to selecting an agent.

    However, this and every other profession boils down to basic questions: How skilled are you at your craft and can you effectively and efficiently complete the mission? I’ve seen many with amazing sites and social followings that can’t …..

  2. Danny Brown

    November 27, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Expecting Klout to improve based on how easy it is to game? Don’t hold your breath, it’s how it keeps selling it’s popularity based algorithm to brands that don’t know any better.

  3. Jon Aston

    November 27, 2013 at 10:30 am

    My apologies for seeming blunt – but isn’t it infinitely more productive to invest your social media time in networking and building relationships with people who matter to… than it is to waste your time trying to preempt some imaginary scenario in which your Klout score might influence some uninformed stranger?

  4. chrisshouse

    November 27, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    I admit I never even think about Klout until someone brings it up and then I will go check on it.

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Social Media

India’s government still pushing social media platforms to nix COVID posts

(EDITORIAL) Whomsoever controls the information controls the people, and India is proving that censorship is a dangerous path.

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Let’s take a walk through recent history, shall we? The timing is late April and the world is still attempting to control the spread of the COVID-19 Virus. Certain countries have succeeded in administering vaccines and keeping down the spread. Other’s have not. People are dying. Families are being stripped of their securities. What’s the saving grace for the majority of these people? Social media.

Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have turned into the news distributors and social lifelines. Our generation has gotten used to things like cable news outlets being entirely one sided with their distributed factoids. It’s easier to trust people than a news monolith, even though they are typically just as biased.

Personally, I believe that we are more accepting of a person being biased because they are supposed to be, whereas companies that report news, we feel should be unbiased and when they aren’t, it’s less forgivable. However, I digress.

Social media has become the new source of news for the younger generations. We go out and take in information either from real life or from other sources and send it out into our own little virtual worlds. Every piece of this information should be taken with a grain of salt and double checked, of course. At least if the person actually wants to spread real news. They then interact and disperse news through instant communication online.

Which leads us to India, 2021.

From the standpoint of this generation, what’s been happening there is deplorable. The Government of India demanded that both Twitter and Facebook begin removing COVID-related posts. Their reasoning? These posts are “deemed posed potential to incite panic among the public.” They are restricting the freest form of communication that has ever existed in to the human race.

Now this could be something that’s innocuous, or a genuine care for the country’s people. I’m sure there are posts out there that may have incited panic. However, some of the previous actions taken by the Indian government tend to make me think otherwise. Pointedly, requests for the blocking of Twitter accounts which criticized the countries policies have gone out. They’ve even threatened jail time for employees and users in this case.

They keep claiming the country’s good but if they are only silencing dissenting voices, they’re actually just protecting their right to govern. Leading to a darker place in mind for any future actions. There are certain facts which stand however.

The Indian government has failed in a number of ways this year. The culmination of which is their unprecedented collapse of their nation’s health infrastructure. One of the only ways that some people are getting their health supplies is through social media as people communicate locations that have supplies available so they can save their lives.

The restrictions that the government is putting forth isn’t helping people. It has the potential to kill them.

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How news outlets are positioning Trump’s lawsuit against Big Tech

(MEDIA NEWS) As Trump’s lawsuit against Big Tech hits the airwaves, media outlets act less predictably than some would think. And most are missing what we believe will be the ultimate outcome.

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In a bold move against “Big Tech,” former U.S. president Donald Trump is suing social media organizations that banned him earlier this year. The class action lawsuit, led by Trump himself, hopes to address the increasing impunity exhibited by these tech companies; there are multiple avenues of coverage that all predict different outcomes, the most likely of which is stronger regulation for tech companies.

Part of the larger issue is that the word “tech” is inherently misleading in the context of companies like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube – all of which are named in Trump’s lawsuit. While others waffled on understanding the difference between tech and media, we have insisted that one can only be categorized as a “technology” company if its primary product is hardware or software; “media” companies involve the dissemination of content using a digital platform.

But companies that might otherwise qualify as solely media-based have been blurring the lines for years, leading to a dearth of understanding regarding their very categorization – and how to enforce the laws that accompany that denomination.

Classifying companies like Facebook and Twitter as tech companies, therefore, is problematic in that the regulation often applied to media companies cannot be applied to them, despite a clear need for regulatory consistency.

In any event, the lawsuit itself alleges that these companies formed a monolithic stance, one whose “status thus rises beyond that of a private company to that of a state actor,” subjecting the companies in question to legal scrutiny under the first amendment – a right that Trump’s attorneys argue was violated when the former president was banned from using these sites.

There are several trains of thought regarding this lawsuit, the majority of which follow the expected party lines; however, one consistent player is Section 230, which is legislation that prevents social media companies from being held accountable for the content that their users create, publish, or share.

Right-leaning news outlets are focusing on possible infringement of free speech and the increasing prominence social media companies play in dictating real-world outcomes, with Fox News quoting Mark Meckler (former interim Parler CEO) as saying the lawsuit could “break new ground.” Trump himself pointed to Twitter’s continued entertainment of violent foreign “dictators” in his absence, alleging support for the idea that conservatives are being censored on social media.

Trump is also quoted as referring to social media as “the de facto censorship arm of the U.S. government” in light of companies like Facebook and Twitter enforcing policies against misinformation, largely at the behest of left-leaning government officials.

This aligns with the “state actor theory” in which social media companies are held with the same regard as government agencies in recognition of the power they wield.

A social media company’s status as a private entity, Trump argues, does not protect it from liability in an ecosystem in which these companies have as much influence as they do, arguing instead for the abolishing of Section 230.

Conservative news outlets are predominantly optimistic about the lawsuit’s success, with sources such as Meckler pointing out that this constitutes “a developing area of the law” that could result in a crackdown on Section 230 – something that would change the way social media companies operate for the foreseeable future.

Left-leaning news outlets are more focused on the flaws in the lawsuit, however, with The Daily Beast asserting that “constitutional law experts almost laughed at the legal arguments presented in the suits.”

“The argument here that Facebook should be considered a state actor is not at all persuasive,” said Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.

Jaffer also points out inconsistencies in the lawsuit’s motivations: “It’s also difficult to square the arguments in the lawsuit with President Trump’s actions in office. The complaint argues that legislators coerced Facebook into censoring speech, but no government actor engaged in this kind of coercion more brazenly than Trump himself.”

These outlets similarly reference Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter cooperating with the CDC to prevent the spread of misinformation regarding COVID-19 – something that Trump’s legal team has cited as evidence that social media companies were colluding with Democrats.

Left-leaning sources acknowledge that the lawsuit could be damaging should it succeed in repealing or altering the parameters around Section 230, but they primarily view this lawsuit as more of a fundraising attempt than a legitimate gripe with the law.

“They know that they’re going to lose and this is a fundraising, publicity stunt that maybe lets them take a section 230 case up the appellate ladder,” says Ari Cohn, a lawyer with TechFreedom.

Cohn also asserted that the argument about Facebook as a state actor is old news, and other sources explained that the lawsuit is most likely a distraction from other stories more than anything else.

There are some fringe takes regarding this lawsuit as well, with Daily Wire calling the lawsuit a “publicity stunt” that is “dead on arrival” due to misinterpretations of Section 230 and the inaccurate logic that led up to the portrayal of Facebook as a “state actor”.

Similarly, centrist news org, The Hill, emphasizes that “the case is frivolous, and… will almost certainly be dismissed in court because private companies are not subject to comply with the First Amendment, which upends the basis of the complaint’s argument.”

Whether or not this lawsuit finds traction, the most reasonable outcome to expect is a closer look at how social media companies are classified, what their role is in public dealings, and which laws pertain to them while they occupy the liminal space between technology and media dissemination.

“Tech” companies have operated without proper regulation for far too long, and while the context here is divisive, the idea of holding these companies accountable to consistent legal expectations should not be.

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Instagram for Kids: Do kids really need social media that young?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Instagram for Kids is a terrible idea that we’ll have to contend in the not-so-distant future as social media becomes more prevalent in our lives.

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Young girl playing phone, exploring Instagram for Kids

As a Facebook company, Instagram is used to pushing the envelope, and not always in a good way. One of their most recent initiatives, dubbed “Instagram for Kids”, offers pre-teens the opportunity to use a parent-controlled Instagram version—but global criticism is already mounting.

Instagram has a 13-and-up policy that restricts pre-teen kids from signing up for the app (in theory), but Instagram for Kids would allow younger users to share and interact with photos without the pressure of ads and inappropriate content (again, in theory). The goal behind a social media app for 12-and-unders is curious, given that acceptable teen social media use already starts at, arguably, a younger age than is responsible.

According to Instagram, though, their motivation for the app is simply to reduce access to harmful aspects of the web without instilling FOMO in younger children: “Kids are already online, and want to connect with their family and friends, have fun, and learn. We want to help them do that in a safe and age-appropriate way, and find practical solutions to the ongoing industry problem of kids lying about their age to access apps.”

Instagram also promises to “consult with experts in child development, child safety and mental health, and privacy advocates to inform [the app experience].”

That’s all fine in—and I cannot stress this enough—theory, but several members of the original internal discussion about this version of Instagram acknowledged that existing Instagram users who are under the age of 13 probably won’t switch over to the new platform, making Instagram for Kids obsolete for any illicit users. That leaves only one conclusion: That Instagram for Kids is for a substantially younger audience.

It’s difficult to find a morally upright justification for creating a social media app for, say, 8-year-olds. Parent control or not, the potential for data collection, early technology addiction, and breaches of privacy is very real. Add to that the fact that the children who are likely targeted by this app can’t exactly give informed consent for their information to be shared (not that 13-year-olds can, either, but that’s a different thing), and it starts to look pretty shady.

Instagram is already tangentially responsible for things like false marketing, eating disorders, and mental health decline in otherwise healthy adults. Adding pre-teens to that list is not only irresponsible—it’s morally bankrupt. Please keep your kids off of apps like this.

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