What is Klout?
Klout.com is a social media influence measuring site based on a user’s “ability to drive action” by using data from social networks a user logs in with to measure true reach (number of people a user influences), amplification (the extent to which the user influences people), and network impact (the influence of your network). Currently, the social networks that Klout offers to analyse to create a “Klout score” are Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, FourSquare, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Blogger, WordPress, Flickr and Last.fm and users can “+K” each other on topics to determine what exactly people are influential about.
There is a lot of support for Klout scores but it is not without controversy. Human resources departments with little understanding are literally hiring and firing based on Klout scores. The Klout algorithm has been called into question and Klout perks that give free perks to users is often under fire for people manipulating their numbers (running scripts to gain followers, gain the system, etc.). More problematic for Klout is their scoring of people who have not signed up for the service and a massive issue reported by Tonia Ries who discovered that her underage child had a Klout score without signing up and there was no way to opt out or disable Klout for someone who hadn’t signed up.
Regardless of the problems, the company is frequently looked to as a measure of a person’s influence online and while flawed is becoming the industry standard. In that spirit, the infographic below outlines more information about Klout and how it works: