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I'm not impressed by your Klout score. Here's why.

Published on: 2014-09-14

As I've been getting more active on social media, I've started digging into Klout to see if I should care. (If you are new to Klout, I suggest you go to the Klout site to get an overview of what their score is.) Recently, I ran across this article that described one person's inability to get hired because of his Klout score, and his subsequent efforts to raise it which led to job offers and speaking engagements. Clearly Klout matters. But should it? I went through my own Twitter network to see if there was a correlation between qualities that I admired and high Klout scores, and after I was finished I was not impressed with Klout. Here are a few examples why.

Klout doesn't break down score by topic

"Bill" is fairly well known in technology circles for one particular type of technology. He attends many conferences and speaks at many more. He also tweets about new features and techniques for this technology. He also tweets about sports. And movies. And food. And his sleeping habits. I'm sure you get the idea. While Bill has an impressive Klout score of 66, Klout doesn't separate buzz that Bill generates because of sports vs. his professional life. And Bill seems to generate more conversations about sports than he does anything else. While Bill seems to be a great guy and an asset to the technology community, his Klout score simply cannot be compared to other technology guys to see who is more knowledgeable or influential in their areas.

Apparently high volume, even if low quality, is good for your Klout score

"Mike", on the other hand, pretty much only talks about social media-related topics on his Twitter account. He also has a healthy Klout score of 68. So does that mean that Mike would be someone to hire for a position or a speaking engagement? I've read several of Mike's articles, and they consistently start by stating a couple of vague, obvious points. Then right when you'd think that a truly informative, insightful conclusion is about to appear, his articles stop. But Mike tweets frequently and has a HUGE following, which leads to his high score.

High quality is rewarded, just not to the same degree

"Thomas" consistently posts high quality content on Twitter. His posts, though, are generally targeted towards people new to one particular concept when its most vocal supporters are fairly advanced. As a result, his engagement with others is somewhat lower. His Klout score of 57 is still respectable, but it's clear that Klout values his contributions significantly less than others in the technology field.

You're an expert in what?!?!

Finally, when I looked at my own Klout score, I was surprised to see that apparently my most influential topic was RabbitMQ. I was even more surprised after I looked at Wikipedia to find out what RabbitMQ is. Apparently it's an open source messaging system, but I never tweet about messaging systems and most of my posts about open source software are about how over-hyped it is. Somehow, Mac OS X Snow Leopard and Cisco made the list too, despite my ignorance of those two topics. It's tough to take the scoring system of a company seriously when it is so ridiculously far off on my own areas of focus.


Given these problems, it is tough to justify using a Klout score as a major criterion in a job search or in looking for presenters for a conference. However, Klout appears to do a good job in measuring an individual's influence using social media. Here are two areas in which I would use Klout heavily:

  • I would never hire a social media marketing expert without a high Klout score
  • If I needed a sales person in an industry whose target audience is on social media, a high Klout score would be an important criterion in choosing a candidate

In both of those situations, you want someone who knows how to generate attention using social media, and Klout is probably as good a way as any of assessing them.


That doesn't mean that if you're not a sales person or a social media marketer that you should ignore your Klout score, or that it doesn't matter. While I don't put much faith in the score, other people clearly do. So it's reasonable to go through some efforts to raise your score, just don't lose perspective.

This article was originally posted here and may have been edited for clarity.