Oct 052012

Image courtesy of ariesgdim.com

I read a very good article last week on TechCrunch. The author was questioning the importance some people are giving Klout scores, even in some cases using a person’s Klout score as a metric for employment. The article cites a Salesforce help wanted listing that requires a Klout score of 35 or higher.

The articles raises many good points. The one that really hits home for me is that a rating system like Klout is designed for someone who spends a great deal of time building their personal brand. That’s fine to an extent, but what about putting your client first?

I saw a lot of this when social media was shiny and new, especially a couple of years ago in the b2g space where (naturally) it was called Government 2.o. To be clear, social media technologies create very real channels for government to citizen communications, and many of the people who made a name as Government 2.0 experts are very sharp people.

But every marketing and communications trend contains froth, and there were some who spent more time speaking at conferences than building client successes. Klout seems like the epitome of that pursuit of the personal brand, supposedly producing an empirical number that signifies an individual’s mastery of social media tools.

Of course a communications professional today needs to demonstrate an understanding of social media channels. I also believe that if you are going to consult clients on how to engage in social media, you need to show you do as well. That’s one of the reasons I launched this site over four years ago.

However, let’s keep thing in perspective. Klout is providing people with a rank, in exchange for access to their social media activity. That’s a lot of valuable personal information, in exchange for a number you can compare with your friends and colleagues. I’ve played with it, and for the record my score is currently 45, whatever that means.

That’s fun to compare with friends, but it’s not something that should determine your next job. Or keep you from focusing on meeting client objectives.



  One Response to “Personal Brand, or Client Business?”

  1. Chris, I have a similar kind of reaction to the new Linkedin “one click endorsement” feature. In that case, I see a distinction between what scores can say about an individual and what they can say about a population the individual is a member of. In either case,the validity of the scores themselves and the manner in which the data are collected seem to have a major impact on how good the scores might be in predicting some behavior.

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