12 Most Frustrating Things About Klout
If you just happen to be crawling out from under a rock, Klout is an influence measurement and scoring system that has been gaining some clout lately.
Some people love it, some people hate it and some people just love to hate it.
Personally, I’m of two minds about Klout. I think the effort to quantify and qualify online influence is an interesting one, yet I am sympathetic to some of the criticisms of Klout’s approach.
But I pay attention to Klout and I’ve tried over the past couple of years to incorporate it into my social routines. This has led to much gnashing of teeth and rending of clothing. But I keep coming back to it.
Here are the 12 things I find most frustrating about using Klout:
1. Love it or hate it, you can’t afford to ignore it
This is the biggest frustration about Klout. I like the idea of measuring influence, but I don’t like the way it’s been executed by Klout. Problem is, no matter where I turn, someone else is relying on Klout as a shortcut to assess online influence and action. Despite ample competition on all flanks, Klout can’t be ignored because of the strength of its brand. It’s just frustrating that Klout can’t seem to deliver what it’s brand promises. Ugh.
2. Klout measures something, but it isn’t influence
By tracking your social media activity, Klout purports to be the “standard for influence.” To start with, Klout only measures online activity, so there are lots of influential people online and off who don’t score well on Klout. If that counterfactual is not enough, there’s the whole question of the Klout’s proprietary algorithm: what is measured and how is it weighted? I’ll grant that Klout is measuring something and that something has meaning, but let’s stop referring to it generically as “influence.” Puh-lease.
3. My Klout score falls twice as often as it rises
Rather than gradually growing, which is my actual online trajectory, my Klout score lurches upward then gradually falls back for several days in a row. When I recently counted over a 30 day period, my score declined on 20 of those days, though it rose overall for that period. This just seems stupid and frustrating to me: why give your users the daily impression that they are failing at their social media engagement activities when, in fact, they are succeeding? Argh.
4. Klout thinks I’m influential about kilts, but I’m not
The list of things Klout thinks I’m influential about makes absolutely no sense. Once, I tweeted:
Just saw a guy in a kilt wearing a t-shirt that said: “Think outside the boxers.” #efmf #DadsTalking
Some people retweeted it. Then I never tweeted about kilts again. Yet, according to Klout, “kilts” was now a topic in which I was influential.
How hard is it to discern what people Tweet about? PeerIndex seems to do a good job and so does Twylah — why can’t Klout? Some people even use Klout’s topical ineptitude to mess with other people (See Screwing with Klout). Huh?
5. Searching for people on Klout is hit and miss — literally
People who clearly have Twitter handles and Tweet can’t be found on Klout. Some days, I search by the Twitter handle and the account name and find nothing. Then, I try again another time and the person comes up. Sometimes, when I’m on Klout.com it feels like it’s 2002. How in the world can this be happening in 2012? Makes me want to s-c-r-e-a-m.
6. Klout notifications just confuse me
It used to be that someone gave you a +K and you could thank them. Easy peasy. Then Klout changed its notification interface. Now, when I click on a notification, I find this strange comment box on the +K and its not clear why it’s there. Am I supposed to comment on my +K? Why and for who? And where is the “submit” button for the comment? Oh, I see now, that’s why the 6 point light gray font appears telling me to “Press Enter to add my comment.” So how am I supposed to thank people for my +Ks now? Wait, I see it, rendered in tiny light gray font in the bottom left of the dialog. What a joy. Not.
7. Klout’s been in “beta” for years
A working site, millions of users, venture capital up the wazoo — what does “beta” mean anymore? Or is this Klout’s way of seeking cover for all these user interface shortcomings. Perhaps Klout becoming the new “standard for beta” too. Oy.
8. Klout’s perks haven’t helped me a bit
Klout once offered two tickets to a premiere screening of a movie my kids would have loved to be the first to see. By the time I applied, it was over-subscribed. For the record, I’m not the least bit interested in another ladies shaver. I’m clearly not in it for the perks. Bah, humbug.
9. Why would I want to invite my friends to Klout by taunting them with my score?
Everywhere you turn on Klout, there is an offer to “invite” your friends from another social network to Klout. Ever click on the link?
@JoeBlow, your Klout Score is 28 (I’m a 57). Check out your @klout profile today!
My score is higher than yours. Come and check out this profile that Klout created without your permission. Real smooth.
At the top of the page, Klout displays “You’ve influenced 00 friends to join Klout.” Yes, I know that, Klout. And it’s unlikely to change until you change some things. Duh.
10. How do I compare to other users?
Klout is quick to compare you to another user based on your scores, but this is not that useful. What I would really be interested in seeing is how my score ranks as a percentile in comparison with ALL others. Back in 2011, Klout’s CEO Joe Fernandez disclosed that the “average Klout Score is close to 20 and a Score of 50+ puts you in the 95th percentile,” but I have been unable to find any more updated information and it doesn’t seem to be something Klout is publicizing on an ongoing basis. Here’s a missed opportunity to add some real value. Darn.
11. Klout iPhone app is a waste of perfectly good storage space
Seriously, does the Klout iPhone app do anything other than display your score on the app icon? Can you give +K? Nope. Can you add an influencer? Nope. Can you create a list? Nope. Then why have an app? Sigh.
12. Give us some way to identify Klout by geography
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could quickly and easily get a list of top Klout scorers by city, province/state, country, etc. We’d all love that. Combine it with improvements to the way topics are determined and you could cross reference by topics. Whoa! Now we’re talking. Wait. What? We have to pay for that? Grrr.
Are there things that drive you nuts about Klout too? Is that a yes I hear? Let me know in the comments below.
Featured image courtesy of Adam Lehman licensed via Creative Commons.