Mark Schaefer has a new book out about the revolutionary power of Klout. And I am confusingly confused. I do believe in influence. I do believe in the power of outreach. I do believe in metrics. But I have my serious doubts about how Klout can be in any way a credible way of measuring influence. As long as there is no more clarity on how their algorithm works, and as long as their illustrious Klout score does not reflect a shadow of a mirror of reality, I think it is a very dangerous score to focus on.
There are hundreds of very smart people here at #SXSW, most so influential that they do not have to bother with their Klout score. The fact that they are influential is proven by the long lines for their meet and greets, for their book signing and for their interview line up.
Return on influence is a great concept, in line with Olivier Blanchard’s (@thebrandbuilder) manifesto on return on investment. But concentrating that effort on Klout just did not do it for me. The ability to measure influence, and in a later stage the return of influence, requires advanced analytic and metric skills that cannot be contained in a simple one-size-fits all easy two digits. “Contextual influence is what counts,” says Porter Novelli’s @israelmirsky. “You might be influential on one topic, or toward one audience. It takes skill to set up a metric system that calculates that”.
Calculating return on influence requires advanced analytics, contextual information and a clear frame of reference. Klout will not help you calculate this. Israel Mirsky might.