I’ve got more Klout than Congress

31 Aug

Klout logo, Klout, the measure of social media influenceOr, did you know that you’re in the (online) presence of greatness?

Now, before we get any further, I’m just going to head this off at the pass, predicting e-mails and comments that I’m sure to receive:

“Maggie, that was a really great blog post, but you spelled clout wrong , it’s clout with a C, not klout with a K . You might want to go back and fix it.”

Actually, for once in my life, I didn’t spell something wrong. (Shocking.) Klout with a K is a proper noun, it’s a system that measures your social media influence . As Klout’s website puts it:

“Our friendships and professional connections have moved online, making influence measurable for the first time in history. When you recommend, share, and create content you impact others. Your Klout Score measures that influence on a scale of 1 to 100.”

Mean GirlsSo, basically, it’s a an internet popularity contest, a measure of your social capital and personal brand. The higher your Klout score, the higher your social media influence. Klout uses gamification to draw you in and even gives you free stuff… so, it’s completely addicting. Getting free things because people like my Facebook status? Turning my social capital into real capital? Yes please! (Of course, the things you get are from paid advertisers who want you to use your social media influence to increase their social media influence…)

Klout Perks: Whether it's a new products ot an exclusive expereince, find out how brands are leveraging your influence.Using your @replies, retweets, likes, comments, and recommendations, Klout lets your track your ability to influence your friends and followers . Do they comment on your Facebook status or reply to your tweets? If so, you’ve got social capital and a strong personal brand and odds are that you have the ability to influence your friends in other ways, too. Or at least that’s what Klout and its advertising partners are hoping. Ultimately, they want to be able to connect social media influencers with brands to promote products. (They want to use your personal brand to promote their not so personal brands.) So, yeah, it’s a bit of a racket, but it’s also a win-win. (Lets be honest, I’m easily swayed by systems that give me free stuff and that reinforce my high opinion of myself.)

Do you have Klout?


Okay, so Klout doesn't give you a letter grade, but everyone wants an A+, right?

So, now you want to know your Klout score (and if you can score some swag), right? Here’s where I’m going to ruin it for you: if you’re just doing Facebook to connect with high school friends, you don’t need to know your Klout score , and you’ll probably be disappointed by how low it is . (Unless multiple people like/comment on your every Facebook status, you don’t really have Klout.) But, if you’re like me and you’re pursuing your social media influence somewhat professionally, Klout is a good way to track how you’re doing, and how you’re growing your personal brand .

“So Maggie, how are you doing?”

Thanks for asking. I’m doing great! Well, at least my personal brand is. (I’m rather tired and hungry, and a little itchy, actually…) Just today, my Klout score reached 51, my all time high. Klout’s scoring system isn’t linear, it’s exponential. So, even though Justin Bieber’s a 100 (yep, Bieber’s the most influential person on the internet, go figure), it’s not like I’m nearly half way as influential as him. (But you just wait until my internet domination is complete…)

So, Congress…?

WIKIThe other day, I was doing some research on a piece that I’m writing for work about constituent involvement in the legislative process and how you can engage with your representatives. (The point being: you, too, can tell them to stop grandstanding and start compromising.) And, as always happens when I do online research, my pointing and clicking lead me down a winding path to something really cool: the Government and Social Media Wiki.

It’s like it was created with me in mind. Do I like government? Check. (I was a poli-sci major.) Do I like social media? Check. (I don’t really think you need an explanation there.) Do I like wikis? Check. (I’ve been known to site studies from the Chronicle of Education in defense of Wikipedia as a legitimate research tool. If this were Twitter, that would get a #nerdalert.)

Congress, The Capital BuildingAmongst other things, GovSM, as they abbreviate it, allows you to compare your social capital, via Klout, to that of Members of the House, Senators, etc. What I learned, I have more social (media) capital than half of the Members of the House. Partially, this makes me think, “Maggie for the win!” But also, Congress: why are you so bad at this?! Don’t you have PR staffs, and kids that are the equivalent of me paid to sit there and tweet and update your facebook status for you? Are they just that bad at their jobs? (Are their status updates super boring, like “Working hard for my constituents “? Do they use official head shots as profile pictures? )

GOP Elefant, Democrat Doney, Social Media LogosI know that there’s a whole industry that’s sprung up around explaining the mysteries of social media success (helping people to get more Twitter followers and create more compelling Facebook profiles) , but it’s really not that hard. It’s about showing up and participating, engaging your audience in a two way dialogue, and generally just not being an ass. There’s no big trick, there’s no big secret. (Okay, so maybe the not being an ass part could be hard for some Congressmen…)

So Congress, if I have a stronger social media presence than you, we’ve got a problem. So, here’s my solution. Want to hire me to do you social media for you? You don’t have to pay me a lot. We’ll start at $100,000 and go from there… Sound good? I guarantee to increase your Klout. And if you get caught up in some sort of ridiculous scandal, all the better. (It’ll be such great status update fodder!)

Questions of the day: Why is Congress so bad at social media? What’s your Klout score? Is it higher than your Rep’s?

MaggieCakes is a blog about social media, marketing, culture, and what’s new on the internet written by me, Maggie O’Toole.  Every day (okay, I try for every day) I comb blogs and news outlets for the news about internet culture and social media to bring them to you (with my commentary, of course) here on MaggieCakes. Find anything interesting in the worlds of culture or social media that you’d like to see a post on? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail at 2maggieotoole@gmail.com.

8 Responses to “I’ve got more Klout than Congress”

  1. georgettesullins August 31, 2011 at 9:02 pm #

    So how do I find out my Klout score? I went to Klout.com and I can’t find anywhere how to submit a request for this.

    • Maggie O'Toole August 31, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

      Click on the “Sign in with Twitter” or “Connect with Facebook” buttons. You need to have at least one or the other to have a Klout score.

  2. Morgan Mussell September 1, 2011 at 12:10 am #

    I’m fine with you having more Klout than Kongress, but Justin Bieber? Fraid I will never be able to take this metric seriously.

    • Maggie O'Toole September 1, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

      I think that Justin Bieber has like all of the teenage girls in the world following him on Twitter. If he told them to jump off a bridge, some of them probably would. I’m not a Bieber fan, but you can’t deny that he has c/klout. All that said, it’s totally a flawed metric.

  3. JSD September 1, 2011 at 6:21 am #

    All I know is that someone needs to klout some sense into all of them.

    • Maggie O'Toole September 1, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

      I wanted to like this comment and then realized that you can’t do that on WordPress. So, consider it liked.

  4. Ells September 1, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    My Klout score was 28 last time I looked… not great, but not too awful either. I suspect it’s gone down over the past few weeks as I’ve been busy in real life and neglecting my online presence!

    And yes, I suspect the ‘not being an ass’ part is where Congressmen fall down – if they’re anything like politicians over here in England anyway…

    • Maggie O'Toole September 1, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

      Don’t you know that you’re supposed to put your virtual life before your real life? Joking. But, yeah, I’ve noticed that when I’m too busy actually living in the world to be tweeting about it, my score goes down.

      I love British politicians. Somehow they seem to get involved in much more interesting scandals than their American counterparts.

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