What is Klout?
Klout is an online service that’s been around for about two years. It’s essentially social media analytics for an individual’s influence across their social network. It gathers data from your social activity and how your network responds to the content you post or the subjects you talk about.
Originally it gathers what it needs from your Twitter account whether you’re using Klout or not, but if you are signed up to the service, it allows you to collate data from your Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, LinkedIn, various other networks (Google+ coming soon) and then gives you an overall score out of 1-100, 1 being disgustingly poor and means you probably still have an AOL email address if one at all, and 100 being glorious, which I believe is only reserved for God (but with that in mind Justin Bieber currently has a Klout score of 99 and I’ll be damned if I ever worship him!).
Why do I need Klout?
Klout, as I previously mentioned, has been around for about two years but only recently it’s becoming known to the public. Klout, like most successful start ups, gives people such as marketers effective ways to judge us, rate us, compare us and arguably most importantly, ways to establish an ROI (return of investment).
Of course the actual usefulness of this score to the general public is next to non-existant when looking at it like this. But with the ability to gain achievements and compare to your friends, the gamification factor of Klout starts to look appealing. What’s even more appealing is when companies start rewarding you for your impressive score.
The benefits of Klout in real life.
Scepticism of this kind of service is understandable, so is the thought of gaming the system to give you a better score. But does this pay off in real life? It’s certainly starting to at least.
Klout itself is teaming up with companies to offer ‘Perks‘ to people as they surpass certain scores. We’re also starting to see job opportunities requiring a minimum Klout score (mainly, of course, in digital and social industries), Airlines may choose to give us upgraded seating on a flight, Mail Chimp: the email utility, gives us an option to send emails out to people with a certain score, and not to mention Spotify’s utilisation of its perk to distribute invites in the US.
The list is going to grow and I think we’ll see more from Klout in the coming year.
A passing trend or a trend of the future?
Web 1.0 was based on one-way communication (static websites with read only content)
Web 2.0 introduced two way communication (wikis, social media, blogs, etc.)
Web 3.0 is driven by technology that reads and understands activity on the internet and uses that data to make recommendations and perform tasks using artificial intelligence.
The way I see it is that Klout confidently fits into the category of Web 3.0 as a solid vision base of future technologies. If you’re going to embrace it, do so with an open mind. If not, know it’s there, and it’s watching you with more judgement than HAL 9000.