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Do you give a Klout?

2 min read


This poll analysis was written by Jeremy Victor, editor-in-chief of For more of his writing, visit and follow him on Twitter or Google+.

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues.

Our poll this week asked:

What’s your opinion of sites that try to measure social media influence, such as Klout? The results:

  • They’re important, but they’re not the only factor worth considering: 45.45%
  • They’re not to be taken seriously: 32.73%
  • Not sure: 18.18%
  • They’re the best measure of social media performance: 3.64%

Interesting, no? That said though, with this week’s analysis, I thought I would do something a little a different. Rather than me share my thoughts and analysis of Klout, I turned to the blogosphere in an attempt to share a point/counterpoint on the topic of influence. Below I’ve chosen to summarize key points from two of the smartest individuals on the topic.

POINT: Mark Schaefer: Klout is key to building influence with content.

Schaefer argues that the ability to promote content is an essential part of any social media strategy. The ability to promote content is known as “influence.” A social media program needs to be able to gauge that ability if its going to be successful — and that’s what Klout is trying to accomplish. It gives you the ability to see who can really push the conversation in a space forward. Read the original article.

COUNTERPOINT: Tom Webster: It’s not the intent, it’s the algorithm.

Klout’s scores are based on a variety of factors, none of which is truly indicative of influence, because they’re based on a flawed set of assumptions about how people relate to one another. At best, it’s creating a score that tells you a person’s potential to influence others. But that score doesn’t tell you whether or not they’ll actually influence the people you’re hoping to reach. Klout is flawed because its assumes too much. Read the full article.

Who do you agree with? Schaefer or Webster or neither?