A Question About Klout…

I’ve no idea how Klout works out it’s scores, but I’m guessing that there is an element of PageRank style algorithmic bootstrapping going on, in which a person’s Klout score is influenced by the Klout score of folk who interact with a person.

So for example, if we look at @briankelly, we see how he influences other influential (or not) folk on Klout:

One thing I’ve noticed about my Klout scrore is that it tends to be lower than most of the folk I have an OU/edtech style relationship with; and no, I don’t obsess about it… I just occasionally refer to it when Klout is in the news, as it was today with an announced tie up with Bing: Bing and Klout Partner to Strengthen Social Search and Online Influence. In this case, if my search results are going to be influenced by Bing, I want to understand what effect that might have on the search results I’m presented with, and how my content/contributions might be being weighted in other peoples’ search results.

So here’s a look at the Klout scrores of the folk I’ve influenced on Klout:

Hmm… seems like many of them are sensible and are completely ignoring Klout. So I’m wondering: is my Klout score depressed relative to other ed-tech folk who are on Klout because I’m not interacting with folk who are playing the Klout game? Which is to say: if you are generating ranking scores based at least in part on the statistics of a particular netwrok, it can be handy to know what netwrok those stats are being measured on. If Klout stats are dominated by components based on networks statistics calculated from membership of the Klout network, that is very different to the sorts of scores you might get if the same stats were calculated over the whole of the Twitter network graph…

Sort of, but not quite, related: a few articles on sampling error and sample bias – Is Your Survey Data Lying to You? and The Most Dangerous Porfession: A Note on Nonsampling Error.

PS Hmmm.. I wonder how my Technorati ranking is doing today…;-)

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

3 thoughts on “A Question About Klout…”

  1. Tony – interesting post as always. I’ve been kind of ignoring Klout too. Although I use twitter and google plus, and do a bit of blogging, I have so far completely avoided facebook – don’t even have an account. I wonder if it is possible to have a high Klout score whilst completely ignoring a large piece of the networking universe – meaning does being very active in a particular area (say twitter, blogging) completely compensate for non participation (I assume that facebook doesn’t figure very highly in your daily community interactions) in others. I imagine Klout obsessives may also increase their score simply by being so.

    1. @bruce The only evidence I have is anecdotal… I don’t understand the new Klout UI at all – in the old one, it used to be possible to look at the contribution to other people’s rank coming from Twitter, Faceboook, Google+ etc (so for example, @briankelly I think was mainly Twitter, as I am, @mhawksey and @ajcann were growing their Google+ contributions etc.). I’m not sure if it’s still an option to see breakdowns for other people, or do side by side comparisons between my account and someone else’s. (TBH, I don’t really care enough to go digging around to see if it’s still possible…)

      It would be interesting to map out a little part of a hybrid social network (eg around @mhawksey) to see if he was influencing folk who were separately gaining reputation either mainly from Twitter, or mainly from Google+, or conversely, split across them. I’m trying to visualise this in my mind’s eye… maybe a set of folk showing typed connections between them (friend on Google+, friend on Twitter) and then some sort of indication of their Klout score (eg node size). I don’t think Gephi supports multiple/parallel edges with different labels between the two nodes (it didnlt last time I tried)? Graphviz does I think; not sure about igraph?

  2. Reputation systems are hard, (boot strapping even harder) and attacks against reputation systems are harder to defend. To make matters worse some of the practicses of Klout might be questionable in other parts of the world. This could make pictures very hazy…

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