Klout purports to measure online influence. Apparently I’m worth 45.34, with those two decimals implying a degree of science beyond the measurement.
It’s all hogwash of course:
The problem with Klout is that a higher score is very often a measure of a higher level of painfulness for the rest of us. Higher scores can be generated from more followers, but also though more tweets and Facebook updates, more retweeting, cheerleading and other sometimes douchelike behaviors. It’s difficult to tell when a tweeter goes too far, but we all have our own internal standards, and choose not to follow when they are broken.
Klout is working on improving their measurement system, but for now it stays opaque and largely discredited by the tech community. However like it or hate it Klout dominates the personal social media measurement space for now, and people pay attention to it, sadly.
Enter Klouchebag, a site which did the rounds a few days ago. Klouchebag analyses your Twitter stream to see how annoying you are to fellow Twitter users. The site is a bit of fun, and is in response to Klout’s measurement flaws. It uses the ARSE rating system, measuring Anger, ReTweets, Social apps (like 4Square) and English usage. Here’s my score – apparently I’m a “bit of a prat”:
One nice thing about Klouchebag is that you don’t have to login to see your score. Tweets are public, so any site that demands a login to analyse your history should be rightfully treated with suspicion.
So is it possible to score highly on Klout and low on Douchebag? It was a wet Sunday, and I had plenty of other things to avoid doing, so here’s a handy chart for selected New Zealand tweeters. I pseudo-randomly picked names from the NZHerald and Computerworld lists and as well some from my own tweetstream. (Click on the chart it to see the enlarged version). Source data is here.
So what’s going on? Let’s add Klouchebag’s score descriptions to find out (and again click on the picture to see a larger version):
The left hand side, at the top, is the place to be – showing huge Klout and no douchebaggery. And right up there sits @rww, the twitter identity of ReadWriteWeb, started by Kiwi Richard McManus. Richard’s own score is also high on Klout, but he is in the “A bit of a prat” Klouchebag ratings. He’s not at all like that, and this serves as a reminder that deeply analysing these scores, as I am doing, is both meaningless and dangerous, although it is fun and can be insightful. @rww is a broadcaster, spitting out tweets referring to ReadWriteWeb articles, while Richard’s tweets are more of a mixed bag – and more interesting for it. However that pushes him up the Klouchebag rankings.
Also on the far left side of the chart, though in territory accessible to mortals with only a NZ audience, are @theNBR, VodafoneNZ, @TelecomNZ, @BNZBank and @AsbBank. The NBR only tweets articles, and is a broadcaster for a website, just like @rww. Chris Keall, the man behind most NBR twitter action, is almost in the center of the chart – with a little more Klout than @theNBR, but “a bit of a prat” along with Richard.
The four major corporations are all doing very well, delivering service without annoying people. Well done. TelecomNZ has more Klout, but is up in the “mostly alright” category. That should serve as a gentle warning that they may want to think about changing their approach. In general we see individuals associated with the big broadcasters and companies take a Douchebag hit, along with, one assumes, a Klout benefit from being associated with the big company.
But the best of the bunch are @barnaclebarnes, @robyngallagher, @jadetang123, @toxaq, @nikz, @gnat, @davidfarrier, @ri and @szechuan. It’s very hard to not be a star or broadcaster, and still manage the trick of influence and non-douchieness. I follow all these fine folks, and so should you. Their scores (and yes – this is all based on rubbish analysis I know) show that they are insightful and influential without being painful, and I concur.
Actually you should look to hire @Robyngallagher or @ri, engage @szechuan (Sacha from Buddle Findlay) as your legal advisor for technology, start-up and M&A work, use @gnat as your advisor on all things tech, give @barnaclebarnes money to keep growing mytours, use @nikz’s 200square to sell your house, start something with @toxaq as your tech co-founder, try to keep up with @jadetang123, starting with Creative Mornings, and, well I don’t know @davidfarrier, but I suppose you should watch him on the news, if that’s your thing.
In short the K vs K chart has managed to filter some pretty awesome people out on the left hand side, which shows that something is working. Well done to everyone.
The mass in the middle are normal humans, and while we should take a little warning from the Klouchebag scores (I’m a “bit of a prat”), I would suggest that being under 40 is fine, and that between 40 and 50 is generally acceptable but one should think about moderating behavior.
Above 50 and things start getting interesting. @benkepes is up there, high in Klout and Klouchebag scores alike. Ben does tweet a lot, and a good chunk of it on stuff I am not that interested in. Perhaps the answer is to do as RWW and the corporations do, and separate the personal and professional accounts.
Twitter allows us to have lists, and while I generally follow NZ based humans back, I do have a private list of people who I more closely follow, while dipping into the firehouse now and then. On that right hand side I was surprised to see that two or three (including Ben) on my private list. However a score above 50 could be considered as a hearty shot across the bows and taken as a warning. Or not – it’s all hogwash as I said.
So there you have it. The point of Twitter and these other social media tools is to have fun, to learn, to be part of a community, to help customers and each other and to not be a douchebag while doing it. Any help we can get to avoid douchebaggery is good, and we have all seen people change, to the benefit of the community. So if you feel you are drifting to the right, then perhaps lighten up a little. And if you are way over on the left hand side; stop gloating, these scores are all rubbish remember.
I’m frankly appalled and will be speaking with my advisors. I’m much more of a douche than NZBen.
You know the answer Paul, get a social media guru to plug your instagram and foursquare to your twitter and facebook. Ask the world to retweet what you say – swear a shitload on twitter and screw up the queen’s english like totally OMG LOL FYI and FML. You’ll be sailing past nzben in no time – FTW!
I’m torn Lance – I’ve RTed your post (thus increasing my klouchbaggery) but am commenting here (but why? since it won’t increase my klout).
Actually I fair pissed myself reading your post – nice work. Interesting that they target RTing – which, like you say, is sometimes very douchey and sometimes particularly insightful (or at least mildly interesting/entertaining for ones’ followers).
Of course I’d suggest that a diagonal line from the original up and across is of interest – and take solace that we both fall somewhere near that line – my relatively greater klout than yours introduces me to a greater degree of douchery
Of course it is all, as you suggest, complete bollocks. But also good fun for a Sunday evening….
Oh and it’s OK if you take me off your private list – I can always stalk you on skype, facebook or (shock horror!) skype
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