This isn’t a stab at Klout. After reading a number of recent blog posts on influence, and participating in several of the associated discussions, I’m just weary of the chase.
My gut tells me that measuring influence is situational and specific. You simply cannot look at tweet streams, numbers of followers, frequency of @ replies or retweets, number of Facebook friends, etc., and draw conclusions about someone’s influence, and there’s research that supports that idea.
Trey Pennington, Justin Goldsborough, Shonali Burke and Mark W. Schaefer are in the fray (and I’ve commented in a couple of cases), and I wrote my own post on the topic. It’s been an interesting conversation split between the “Klout is useless” – “Klout is making a good attempt” and my fringe element rantings that we need better research to figure out how to measure influence.
The deal is that there are few independently researched efforts to investigate the claims of well-intentioned entrepreneurs. There’s inevitably a black box that contains the algorithms and secret formulas, and no one wants to subject their potential cash cow to measurement that might render it an Edsel.
James Grunig and Linda Hon wrote a seminal paper about measuring relationships that might hold a key to figuring out how to measure influence. To determine strength of relationships, they write, focus on six components: Control Mutuality, Trust, Satisfaction, Commitment, Exchange Relationship and Communal Relationship. Coming up next week, a look at each element and how they may or may not apply to measuring influence.
BTW, I found out recently that my Technorati Authority score is 406. My Klout score is 46. I have no idea what that means. But I want to better understand influence, so I’m going to run this down for a while.