Klout thinks spammers are better than you

You’ve probably been invited to “view your Klout score!” if you use any kind of social media. You certainly are assigned one whether or not you actually sign up for Klout. If you’ve read any of the other 90 bajillion posts on how bad Klout is, I recommend you stop reading here – I won’t be saying anything new. If you think Klout is a useful thing, read on!

The other day I was spammed by @renaphillips9. When I went to report the account in Hootsuite, I was presented with her Klout score.

A Klout score

measures your influence on a scale of 1-100—the average Klout Score is 40.

The greater your ability to drive conversations and inspire social actions such as likes, shares, and retweets, the higher your Score will be.

So, in theory, people with higher Klout scores are popular people on social networks who really shape conversations. In reality, spammers can easily get higher Klout scores than average users, e.g.

Spammer on left, real person on right

Spammer on left, real person on right

Klout pretty much comes out and says their fancy system can’t be gamed by spammers:

Did you know that the Klout score focuses more on the amount of conversation and interactions you generate rather than the volume of your posts? Being active is different from being influential.

All of @renaphillips9 tweets were direct spam to real users or interactions with other spam accounts. I’m a real person with an active twitter account with plenty of real conversations and retweets. Clearly Klout isn’t measuring what it claims to be measuring.

Klout advertises itself as a way to figure out your own influence, sort of an ego-stroking algorithm I guess, but I imagine its real business plan is to sell its scores or algorithm or something to advertisers to figure out which horse to hitch their wagon to.