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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

Facebook hopes to get yeety fresh with a new meme maker

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook has a whole new team to create new apps to keep up with the likes of Tik-Tok and instagram, but who wants them to?

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The tea is Facebook, triggered by its basic label, is tired of Taking L’s and wants clout and is ready to be on fleek with some yeets from Gen Z.

What this means, is Facebook launched a new app called Whale, which lets users make and share memes in a super simple way. Right now, Whale is only available on the Canadian App Store.

Tik-Tok, a video-focused app, has quickly risen in interest and grabbed the attention of the younger set. In an effort to boost its market share with competition from Snapchat and Tik-Tok, among others, Facebook is using its New Product Experimentation (NPE) team to develop apps that will be of interest to users, The Verge shared. Whether it is able to find its way into their cold and possibly stunted hearts is yet to be seen.

A Pew research study, published earlier in 2019, shared that half of American teens use Facebook, which The Next Web pointed out is not its largest demographic of users. Instead, seven out of 10 adults use Facebook, with 75% visiting daily, according to the research study.

The app arrived on Nov. 15, 2019, according to App Annie. With one, five-star review to date, the app is said to be easy to use to create and share memes. But, not very unique in a market where making memes has become “lit”.

The app allows users to take or select from their camera roll or browse the apps’ stock images to create easy to share memes. Users can also insert text, use filters and effects, according to Tech Crunch. Users have the option to make their own stickers and even draw freehand.

As Facebook’s NPE team comes up with new apps, Tik-Tok, is on its way to 1.5 billion users. But, not without some controversy, since its Chinese-owned and U.S. lawmakers have become concerned about the security of user data.

As Tech Crunch explained, the Canadian launch allows Facebook to test out the app in a market similar to the U.S. but with a smaller user-base, in case it should take off and require it to scale quickly.

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Social media site by Wikipedia founder – lofty goals, limited functionality

(SOCIAL MEDIA)Wikipedia founder has created a news social networking site to help people escape from the shady practices of other sites, but is it all that good?

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Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales announced the launch of WT:Social last week, a social network sprung from the WikiTribune project. In addition to creating the global encyclopedia that your high school teacher won’t let you cite as a source, Wales is also behind the Wikimedia Foundation and the Jimmy Wales Foundation for Freedom of Expression.

WikiTribune is a volunteer-driven platform focused on delivering “neutral, factual, high-quality news.” (There’s a lot that could be said about the ethics and logistics of trying to “fix” news by paying reporters even less/nothing, but that’s another article.)

Springing a social network out of a news site means that WT:Social’s focus is largely going to be on fixing what’s wrong with Facebook’s news. They’ve drawn criticism over the last few years for their news policies.

Among other things, despite theoretically banning white nationalist content, their list of “trusted” news sources includes Breitbart, a site whose founder has called it a platform for the alt-right. (The alt-right itself is a self-avowed white nationalist movement, among other things) Zuckerberg has also (as we’ve pointed out) claimed that politicians have the right to lie in advertisements. Refusing to hold advertisers to any sort of standard of truth is deeply concerning, to say the least.

So WT:Social is out to improve the way that people consume and share news. But is that enough to make it succeed as a social network? After all, people looking for FB or Twitter alternatives aren’t just looking for news. They’re looking for a less toxic platform.

Facebook and Twitter have both received criticism for how they handle user experience and advertisements alike. Both have problems with bubbling extremist movements, and both have struggled with public perception in the wake of persistent allegations that their moderation systems are under-resourced, and tend to side with abusive users over the marginalized people those abusers were targeting. For their part, Twitter has overtly stated that people who violate their terms of service regarding harassment or threats will not be banned for it, so long as they are sufficiently newsworthy.

This might have something to do with the fact that they see some of those same TOS violators as enough of a draw to their platform to feature them in advertisements. And of course, Twitter kept conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his InfoWars media company on the platform despite rules violations until he confronted CEO Jack Dorsey in person.

One theoretical point in WT:Social’s favor is that they’re planning on being donation-supported, rather than ad-supported. Which is fantastic from an end-user standpoint, but raises issues on buy-in from others. And that’s not the only potential stumbling block in WT:Social’s path.

As yet WT:Social hasn’t really stated a particular interest in competing with Facebook and Twitter on the social aspects of social media, and so far, that lack of interest comes through on the site. This writer signed up for the social network (looking, as ever, for a Facebook alternative) and was greeted by a number of baffling things.

First, my attempts to log in were greeted by a notification that I was “number 65538 on the waiting list,” and that I could send invitations to get earlier access to the site, to make posts.

WT waiting list contribute

Then, I made posts.

But now I can’t find them?

Beyond that, I’m not sure what the waiting list is actually for. On top of the mysterious queue, there’s a place where I can subscribe! But once again, I don’t quite know what I would be subscribing to, and $12.99/month is a lot to ask for a service that’s completely undefined. I suppose that I could track down other sources to explain this to me, but if the user experience is so confounding from the outset that I need to learn about it secondhand, do I really want to pursue the site further?

A friend and I, both eager for a Facebook alternative, started writing on each other’s walls to test the service out. But in lieu of any kind of notification system, we found ourselves writing on each other’s WT:Social profiles, and then returning to Facebook to let the other person know that we had done so.

It’s not an auspicious beginning.

But at the same time, something needs to happen. With Facebook’s reputation for promulgating fake news, Twitter’s notoriety for abuse, Reddit’s haze of toxicity, and content hubs like YouTube and Tumblr cracking down on adult content (and seemingly defining the existence of LGBT people as inherently “adult,”) people are looking for some kind of life raft. The person who creates a robust social network that commits to rooting out toxicity could have quite the business opportunity on their hands.

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Twitter’s crackdown on deepfakes could insure the company’s survival

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Twitter is cracking down on manipulated and misleading content—will other social media platforms do the same?

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Twitter isn’t renowned for things that other social media platforms lay claim to—you know, setting trends, turning a profit, staying relevant—but the oft-forgotten site finally has something to brag about: cracking down on deepfakes.

Oh, and they also finally pulled out a profit this year, but that’s beside the point.

Deepfakes, for those who don’t know, are videos which have been manipulated to portray people—often celebrities or politicians—saying and doing things that they never actually said or did. The problem with deepfakes is that, unlike your average Photoshop job, they are extremely convincing; in some cases, their validity may even be impossible to determine.

Unfortunately, deepfakes have been used for a variety of unsavory purposes ranging from moderate humiliation to full-blown revenge porn; since ruling them out is difficult, the long-term implications of this type of video manipulation are pretty terrifying.

You wouldn’t be wrong for thinking that all social media platforms should address deepfakes as a serious issue, but the fact remains that many platforms have taken decidedly lackadaisical approaches. Facebook, for example, continues to allow content from producers who have histories of video manipulation, the dissemination of misleading information, and flat-out false advertising—something that has been generally glossed over despite being heavily addressed by media.

This is where Twitter is actually ahead of the curve. Where other social media services have failed in the war against “fake news”, Twitter hopes to succeed by aggressively labelling and, in some cases, censoring media that has been determined to be manipulated or misleading. While the content itself will stay posted in most cases, a warning will appear near it to signify its lack of credibility.

Twitter will also remove manipulated content that is deemed harmful or malicious, but the real beauty of their move is that it allows people to witness first-hand a company or service purposefully misleading them. By keeping the problematic content available while making users aware of its flaws, Twitter is increasing awareness and skepticism about viral content.

Of course, there is room to criticize Twitter’s approach; for example, some will point to their act of leaving deepfakes posted as not doing enough, while others will probably address the tricky business of identifying deepfakes to begin with. Luckily, Twitter’s policy isn’t set in stone just yet—from now until November 27th, you can take a survey to leave feedback on how Twitter should address these issues going forward.

As Twitter’s policy develops and goes into place, it will be interesting to see which social media platforms follow suit.

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