I’m a fan of Klout, which (if you haven’t heard of it) calls itself “the standard for [online] influence.” I’ve been the recipient of some Klout Perks, and – unrelated to that – have recommended Klout to a client. I display my Klout badge on my blog (over there to the right; it’s not difficult to notice!). And I recognize that Klout is just one factor to consider in assessing someone’s “influence.”
But one aspect of how they measure has me a bit flummoxed.
Namely: your Klout score is determined, in part, by how actively your followers engage with you. That is: how often they reply to you when you post, address questions or comments to you, retweet you, add you to lists, etc. The more actively your followers engage with you, and the more of them who do so, the more influential you’re determined to be.
Makes sense, right?
But what happens when followers abandon or rarely use their accounts? According to ManageFlitter.com, a whopping 510 Twitter accounts that follow me (but that I don’t follow back) haven’t tweeted in at least a month. And if they haven’t posted in a month or more, they’re not interacting with me or with anyone else.
In other words, over a quarter of the accounts following me are highly unlikely to interact with me, regardless of what I tweet. But there’s nothing I can do to stop them from following me, unless I go through and manually block each of them.
So even though I have no control over who follows me, the fact that 27% of my followers aren’t really using Twitter likely counts against me (or you, or anyone else in a similar circumstance) when it comes to measuring online influence. If I could somehow remove the inactive accounts from following me, the percentage of the remaining followers who DO interact with me would be a larger piece of the pie, and (in theory) my Klout score would increase.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not hung up on my Klout score. Mine’s actually pretty good, as far as I’m concerned. I’m raising this as more of a general question about whether there’s a fly in the ointment if Klout (and similar influence measurement services) hold users accountable for the actions of their followers, even though users can’t control who’s following them.
Do Klout and its competitors figure this into their algorithm already? Please share your thoughts in the comments.