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Can Klout and Peerindex make me into an internet superstar?

A couple of days ago, I decided to try out Klout and Peerindex to find out how popular I was on social media.  I have been reluctant to do so in the past because I basically think influencer measurement like that are bullshit and it’s made for companies to find out who they should target in the mainstream of social media, instead of finding out what people they should be talking to on a 1 on 1 level, based on the relationships and word of mouth. This article in Wall street journal confirmed a part of my belief, and I decided to look more into it.

I see influencer measurement as a shortcut and as a mislabeling of a lot of really cool people out there, and I think these measurements are missing the whole point of the social web: substance, creativity and proactivity. There, I said it.

First up: here are my personal reactions checking the services out

Peerindex:
I got really anxious and paranoid about  that my Peerindex was only 26, and my authority was only 17.  I added all the stuff they said I should and it still didn’t move the measure. Apparently being an Author in Denmark, having published a blog for more than 5 years + written ebooks in english and danish doesn’t really give me authority. I got this feeling that the reason they have measured it like that, is probably from an american standpoint. I think if they did localized versions of peerindex, it would probably be different.

Klout:

I felt a bit better about Klout than Peerindex, because it seems like they measure my influence in a more transparent way. Still it annoys me to pieces that I can’t see how they make out the numbers of “my influence”.

So I had a discussion about this on twitter last night with Hans Henrik Heming, Morten Saxnæs and Jesper AndersenAfter the discussion and my own observations, I think my main problem with the current influencer measurement tools are:

1. It seems like both peerindex and klout are measuring my influence, not by quality but by quantity.

To me, it would be the same as to measure a readership of a blog, by how many comments you get on that blog. I don’t get a lot of comments – still my blog has been a large part of my bread and butter for the last 5 years. People still come up to me at conferences and meetings and knows what I been doing since I saw them last time, because of my blog and my activities on social media. The influencer measurement tools look at the retweets and the direct messages and who follows me and stuff like that. But the internet is so much more than Facebook and Twitter. If I want to increase my influence score – it seems like I need to follow less people on twitter, get more followers there, and add more friends on linkedin and facebook. Does that make me influental ? Maybe from the outside and in the numbers, but it doesn’t really add to the substance of the real me, and I think that is misguiding.

2. It looks like it’s easy to manipulate your influence.

Kind of like if you buy your twitter followers… I really think the Klout is broken article is spot on and shows a worrying thing that you can do with data.

3. It isn’t based on content

I preach substance and great content. No matter how many measurements you set up, I do believe that the great content is the key here, and it doesn’t really matter if it get’s retweeted or not. In some geographical areas, cultures and languages, I would believe that retweets are less used than in other parts of the world.

I guess what Im trying to raise here, is the question of whether this should be an indicator of how influential we are. I think numbers on the social web are good, but they can also be terribly labeling and misleading. I mean it’s like measuring the ROI of social media – it’s numbers that companies want to find out who would give them most impact, not based on who is best suited for the company, but based on their rating and their quantitative digital activies.

So can they make me into an internet superstar? It sure looks like I can manipulate them to make me look like one. I think I would say that they could make me into a fake internet superstar If I wanted to do that, and Im sure some douchebags out there would. But the substance, the real valuable deep connection and the content is not taken into consideration here. So until they start defining measurements for that, I think I’ll just do my normal way: feel and act like an internet rockstar, believe in myself and my value as an entrepreneur, business owner, influencer (or wannabe influencer? who cares) and superstar.

5 Responses

  1. Great article Henriette,

    I’ve played around with Klout a few times on my own. To me the idea is good, but the formula for counting the scores is not logical. If you want to keep track on your social media presence over time there’s some value in the score, but benchmarking yourself against others makes no sense.

    Take care,
    Joakim

  2. Hi Henriette

    First of all – thanks for writing about this exciting new space.

    Second – a quick note on your PeerIndex – it appears we don’t have a full index for you, give us a few days and we’ll update it.

    Thirdly – on your point of language, there are certain parts of our platform that may struggle with language — specifically the semantic analysis components – however, by looking at the data we have on you I can tell that this isn’t proving to be a problem with your activity. We’ve already done plenty of work in Dutch and Portuguese (for example).

    I don’t think we would go as far as saying we measure your influence – because that is, in itself, a very tricky thing to measure. And I am pretty certain we don’t say we do on our website.
    What we do seek to do is figure out your social authority, position in the network structure , the extent to which you have accumulated social capital (in some way).

    And you are right there are many other sources of authority–one example being what you do in the offline world (like win a Nobel Prize), we don’t index those things yet, but we will.

  3. Henriette

    @Joakim – I think you’re very right on this. @Azeem, Im so sorry if I base my research on wrong data – I don’t believe it said on the site that my index wasn’t finished, it wasn’t clear to me for sure. Anyway thank you for your great comment =)

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