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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

There’s a subreddit that is literally moving the stock market

(SOCIAL MEDIA) “You can’t change the world on Reddit all day.” Hm. Wanna bet? Some people do bet on whether a stock will rise or fall on Reddit.

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I don’t gamble. RIP to Mister Kenny Rogers, but this whole folding, holding, walking, running business is bad for my heart.

So playing the stock market is out for me, but apparently, you don’t even need an accountant to place your bets? The good, if foul mouthed, people of r/WSB aren’t just proving that, their playing and paying outside the traditional trading room is actually moving markets!

The subreddit, full name r/wallstreetbets, is 900,000 users strong, and boasts members that have been involved for years. They show off their stock market wins, losses, jokes, and opinions with varying levels of insight on all contributions.

Ordinarily, this’d just be an interesting collection of folks talking stock, but some of their threads have been shown to have an effect on share prices!

Users don’t just share what and how they’ve traded, they also gamble on what stock prices will do, without actually purchasing or selling any. Options contracts allow users to cast lots for less cash, while retaining the power to show actual purchases as hotter or colder and literally moving the temperature dial on them by word of mouth (and possibly pure conjecture) alone.

So I could hop in, put a marginal amount of money down, and say ‘Stock in Pressure Valve Company X is going to go up since more people are buying bidets in the wake of the Corona-based toilet paper hoarders, and they’re a key component’, then pepper in some off-color jokes about personal hygiene and everyone’s moms to blend in, and potentially wait to collect!

Neat.

After all, not only are surges of humans looking at these bets, web algorithms and cookie crawlers are staring too. It’s chatrooms of the dotcom boom all over again, except more chaotic, more gif-laden, and more monitored by outside forces.

It’d be sinister if the vibe of the sub wasn’t ‘Take literally nothing seriously’. Try discussing ‘chicken tendies’ in a boardroom sometime and see what I mean…although the tide on that might be shifting as well.

The one forbidden thing here is actually using the forum for insider trading. Directly profiting from the rumors gets users exiled, and gets users interacting with them booted too.

Serious business actually DOES occur, who would have thought? I wouldn’t have. Which is why I don’t gamble.

It’s easy to write Reddit off as just an online echo chamber slash cesspool, but when it comes down to it, the American Psychos of the world are on the same internet as the basement-dwellers, and the gap in financial literacy between the two ends of the spectrum is pulling a reverse Pangea.

We need to start recognizing that.

I’m still staying away from 4Chan though.

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Facebook messenger gets a major facelift for speed

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook messenger has been around a loooooong time and has started to suffer from build bloat. So the new project lightspeed has redesigned it.

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If you’ve ever spent time in an old-school, family-built home, then you have an idea of what the inner workings of the Facebook Messenger app look like. It began with just a few rooms, but as the needs of the family grew, they kept adding on rooms wherever they fit until the layout no longer made sense and the home became a bloated maze.

Facebook Messenger has been suffering growing pains ever since it branched off into its own app in 2011. As the app became more popular developers worked to make it more engaging by adding new features like stickers, GIFS, and video calls.

At some point, they realized that the app had gotten away from them. The Facebook Messenger currently on your device has move 1.7 million lines of code. An app that big is slow and takes up a ton of valuable space on users devices, so the team knew it was time for a change. The project became internally as Project LightSpeed.

Facebook Messenger is a valuable app for connecting with friends, family, and business connections across the globe. You don’t even need to be Facebook friends with someone to message them making it an invaluable tool for long-distance teams or new business connections. In recent years, the app has begun to slow down making it vulnerable to competitors like WhatsApp.

The development team’s goal for the new app was to make it small, fast, and simple. In order to achieve this Facebook’s team of engineers has reduced the core code by 84%, taking the original 1.7 million lines of code down to 360,000. The new app will be about a quarter of the size of the current app.

A smaller app will load quicker and be more responsive, even if you’re using an older device or you’re in an area with lower connectivity. Current tests put the new app as being twice as fast as the current version, while keeping all the features that users have come to expect. Don’t worry, you will still be able to send your friends stickers, pictures, and obnoxious amounts of GIFs.

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Facebook wants to hear from you. Literally. For innocent reasons

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As if Facebook didn’t already own everything that is you, they are asking to hear you say a specific phrase for their new voice services.

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Good news, Facebook is now offering to pay you to let strangers listen to you! Well, kind of.

Users connect to Viewpoints – a different app under the Facebook umbrella – which allows them to participate in market research. In this case, participants repeat the phrase “Hey Portal, call,” followed by the name of a Facebook friend, and submit the recording. The whole ordeal is about five minutes, tops.

By finishing this and other tasks, participants can expect to make a grand total of…$5. It’s not much, but at least that’s a fancy cup of coffee for work you can do while waiting for the ads to finish on your TV show.

So, why is Facebook shelling out $5 for people to make voice recordings? Surprisingly, it’s because AI is not nearly as smart as we sometimes assume – especially when it comes to voice commands. There’s a whole host of things that go into how we communicate, like posture, tone and even slang, which can make understanding vocal commands a much bigger ordeal.

In order to make improvements to the system, it often requires teams of humans putting in the leg-work. This means studying the disconnect between humans and machines, as well as creating solutions. Unfortunately, this human touch is also the excuse companies like Amazon use to justify listening in on your conversations. (Sure, users can ‘opt out’ but come on. That’s not exactly something Amazon advertises.)

As more people grow aware of the potential breach of privacy that tech like Alexa or Portal can bring, however, it’s put pressure on companies to scale back. Which is where Facebook’s new paid survey comes in. Unlike an anonymous employee listening in on a random Portal conversation, this way participants opt in, rather than out, of having their information shared.

The academic in me is slightly skeptical. There’s only so far a paid study like this can get, especially when it comes to the nuances of voice command. The conspiracy theorist in me is also skeptical, mostly because although Facebook promises they won’t sell your information or publicly share it, there’s still plenty of nefarious things to be done. That said, at the end of the day, at least Facebook isn’t just swiping information off your Portal…and you even get some pocket change in exchange.

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