Before I became aware of Klout (@klout) I enjoyed my relatively nonexistent existence. I mean, I was somewhat social with Facebook and Twitter. I had a core group of friends with whom I regularly interacted with. I wasn’t a complete pariah, my Klout score was in the low 20s and I believe I was listed as a “Conversationalist”. I liked that, it was a friendly category to be placed in and I was happy to be there.
Then I grew more familiar with Klout. I began hearing rumblings as to how it was changing the way we’re perceived online and even in real life. It was scary to think companies would start using Klout scores to determine job candidacy. It isn’t entirely unreasonable for potential employers to check your level of influence across various social networks to determine if you’re right for a particular position. Think about it, there are so many marketing opportunities online, companies are either starting to, or need to start looking for ways to leverage their brand’s influence by using the influence of their employees.
Where was my Klout score going to get me in life? It remains to be seen if it will get me anywhere worthwhile, especially at a great company. It’s given me a couple perks, I received Spotify and Crowdbooster accounts, beyond that I didn’t gain much. That is, until I became obsessed with raising my score.
I read an interview that stated there were many ways to raise your Klout score. One way was the quality of friends and followers you have. If I had (God, please forbid) Justin Beiber following me on Twitter, that would raise my Klout score more than if I had 100 of those spamming pornographers. In addition the best way to raise your Klout score is to instigate action among your followers. Are they retweeting your tweets? Are they clicking your links? Are they responding to your updates? All these things and more are used to calculate your score. I realized upon reading this, l wasn’t engaging my audience.
I looked at my Facebook News Feed and realized no one really was engaging their audience. No one was instigating any sort of discussion. We were all part of this enormous social network and yet none of us were taking advantage of the opportunities it presented. We could do something radical, we could actually get to know one another! Not only on Facebook, but also Twitter which has become more of a way to broadcast than to converse.
This is where things changed for me. I began engaging my audience. Rather than just sit idly by reading status updates and maybe contribute to light discussion, I became an instigator. Being an introvert, it sucked stepping out of my comfort zone. I started posting fun questions that made people think. I asked for opinions. I asked for people to respond. They did, and my Klout score rose. I’m still no “Celebrity” according to Klout, but over the course of a couple of months I was able to raise my score nearly 30 points; now I hover around 50. I went from “Conversationalist” to “Socializer”, to “Networker” and now I sit comfortably at “Specialist”.
My resolve is constantly tested. Preserving a high Klout score requires effort, oftentimes more than I’m willing to invest. I check my score daily to see if it’s changed. If it’s fallen, I know I didn’t make the effort to engage my friends or make new ones. Klout is a great way to measure not only your online influence, but also if you’re maintaining your online friendships. And while I may never get a great job from obsessing over my Klout score, I definitely have earned better friendships.