Much has been written about the nature of online influence and I didn’t want to add more to the debate, but when you hear somebody that, supposedly, has real influence talking rubbish – ironically about real influence – well, I felt compelled. I don’t know how you measure influence, but I certainly don’t use a smoke and mirrors algorithm that measures… well, we’re not actually sure what it measures. I certainly measure influence in the amount of interactions I have with them or the number of books that they’ve sold.Influence is a complex, and subconscious, thing to measure and it’s personal to me.
So, when I heard Scott Stratten of Un-Marketing ‘fame’ saying, in an interview with small business website CanadaOne “…you can go to a site like Klout.com and run somebody’s twitter name and it will show you how much real influence they have.”, I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing.
Klout – a tool for measuring REAL influence? Really?! How do you measure real influence from social media activity alone? How does that work?
Scott, an ‘expert’ in “viral, social and authentic” marketing explains that, “January 1st, 2009 I said that I was going to live on Twitter for 30 days. Literally live on Twitter. I tweeted 7,000 times. I literally lived there and I went from 1,200 followers to 10,000. The key is not the number but they key is that there was engagement in conversation and 75% of those 7,000 tweets were replies. It was talking with people, not at them.”
Right Scott, but what were you saying to them? Were you actually giving them good advice? Demonstrating that you knew what you were talking about? Because, if you were telling them that Klout is the place to go to see who has real influence then… well, you don’t know what you’re talking about. You might be able to persuade people to take action – I guess that’s influence – but what’s the point of influence if you’re giving them bad advice? You’d lack credibility then wouldn’t you? You can’t have real influence without credibility, can you Scott? How authentic is a metric measured on the number of engagements, without actually measuring the value or credibility of what you say?
If you’re really suggesting that a tool that, effectively, measures the number of times you respond to others across a small number of platforms – rather than measuring the validity of what they say – can tell you who has real influence then you’re lacking real credibility. You can check out Scott’s interview with Canada One here:
Admittedly, the video was shot a year ago – but was published in November 2012 on the CanadaOne website. It’s only because I googled “Scott Stratten + Influence” that I found out when it was recorded [May 2011]. Now Scott may have changed his view of Klout since he recorded it, but I couldn’t find anything from an hour searching specifically for it on Google. If I’m misrepresenting your views on Klout Scott, please tell me and I’ll update this post.
I wrote about false experts a few months ago and this is the best example I’ve seen in a long while… [I don’t think anybody can consider themselves to be an expert in social media in what is still a very young discipline]
* Final sentence added Thursday 15th Nov. 2012 for clarity.