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Monday, May 28, 2012

Do You Have Klout?

The three-year-old start-up company Klout is measuring how influential people are on social media and assigning them scores. Justin Bieber has a perfect 100 Klout score. President Obama has a 91.

The company uses a secret algorithm to determine how much you influence other people on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites.

Companies Lure Influential Customers

And now other companies are using that information to find and attract customers with a lot of influence on the web.

For example, hotels and airlines are starting to give upgrades to people with high Klout scores. The Seattle Convention Center arranged an all-expense weekend getaway for 30 people with high Klout scores. Other companies are giving away promotional clothing and free smart phones to people with a lot of Klout.

The idea is that those people will then go online and give rave reviews to those companies, which is in essence free advertising.

Klout Scores In The Job Search

But your Klout score can cut both ways.

Wired Magazine found that a low Klout score cost one man his job. Sam Fiorella told Wired that while interviewing for a marketing job, the interviewer asked him what his Klout score was.

[Fiorella’s] score was 34. “He cut the interview short pretty soon after that,” Fiorella says. Later he learned that he’d been eliminated as a candidate specifically because his Klout score was too low. “They hired a guy whose score was 67.”

If you have a low Klout score, you can work to improve it, by engaging more with your social media audience.

And for some people, improving their Klout score has made social media more fun.

“This hews nicely to the trend of gamification,” said Jason Tanz, Wired magazine’s New York editor. “If you think about it, Klout turns Twitter into a game.”

And Tanz says some people are focused on getting their score as high as they can.

“Even though we know it’s kind of silly, that’s how we’re wired. We want to play that game,” Tanz said.


  • Jason Tanz, New York editor at Wired Magazine

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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