”I am not a number! I am a man!” says Patrick McGhoohan’s character, Number Six, at the start of every episode of the classic cult TV series “The Prisoner”.
We’ve been numbers for longer than we think. Americans have had social security numbers since the Great Depression.
But, so far, we’ve managed to keep it so that our reputations, brands and image are linked to our names and not any of the many numbers attached to them.
Klout is one of the first widely accepted scales for measuring social media influence. The higher your Klout score, between one and 100, the more influence you have. Or at least that’s what the principals of Klout, a privately-held company, want you to believe.
Among other metrics, Klout looks at your numbers of Twitter followers, people following you, retweets and the quality of your followers. They combine that information with similar data from Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Foursquare and Klout itself to come up with your Klout Score.
Launched in 2009, Klout now gauges the influence of over 500 million social media users.
Klout and its effort to become the standard of social media influence has more than a few detractors. In the early days, Justin Bieber had a perfect 100 Klout score, while U.S. President Barack Obama wallowed at 58.
But the company has since managed to improve its metrics and attract $30 million in investment – some of it from the former detractors.
- Major Marketers, including Ford, GM and Sears actively seek out those with high Klout scores in certain categories as a means of generating online word-of-mouth marketing
- Klout scores are used to rank candidates for certain job positions
- Consumers look to high-Klout influencers for unbiased advice on purchases
- There’s even a dating site that finds you a mate based on your Klout score
Like it or not, if you use the main social media, your activity has been measured and assigned a Klout score. It might not be so significant now, but instead of going away, like many predicted it would, social media ranking will most likely continue to evolve, and become more significant as it does.