Klout was a social media tool that helped online influencers measure their influence in the virtual world. It was bought for $200 million by a company called Lithium in 2014. It targeted the most popular social media platforms such as twitter, instagram, linkedin and youtube and provided you with an influencer score. The higher the score, the more influential you were likely to be.
As of the 25th of May, Klout was retired. This co-incided with the timing of the new European Union, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws. These came into force on the same date. So why did Lithium retire Klout?
It really boils down to return on investment. Lithium bought the people, intellectual property and the technology, to help them inprove their products. They specialise in creating products that improve your business customer service, via social media channels. Understanding the influence and pervasiveness of a brand, was crucial to their strategy, and Klout provided this service. This allowed Lithium to acquire talent and knowledge.
In addition, Klout does not provide an obvious or known revenue stream for Lithium, as it's a free tool. It's a similar problem that Facebook and Twitter had faced in the past, until they utilised advertising and promotion as a means of making revenues.
Finally GDPR is complex legislation with a heap of complexities associated with it. Let's provide some real examples using Klout:
Klout is used by millions of social media users around the world. A proportion of them live in the EU, which consists of 28 separate countries. That means Lithium would need to comply with the GDPR legisation. This would include some key investments in the Lithum business to comply with GDPR. Here are some examples:
The great news for social media influencers, like myself, is that there are 2 viable alternatives to Klout:
Kred appears to be better known and scores both influence and outreach using a publicly available algorithm. "Influence" measures the likelihood that someone will act upon the user's posts, and "Outreach" measures the user's tendency to share other people's content. Independent information around Kred is available here:
The way in which Kred scores a user can be seen the following screenshot which shows how it allocates the metrics for influence and outreach. This information is available when the user logs in and provides an audit trail of how the scores have been calculated:
Unfortunately I've not been able to log in to my Kred account. I wanted to check that these audit records are being created and validate that it provides transparency. I'm simply greeted with an OAUTH error every time I attempt to use my Twitter or LinkedIn accounts.
No response to emails but a very positive response via Twitter outlining to me and my fellow influencers, that they'll fix it in their new Kred 2.0 version to be released on 11 June 2018. Many of the influencers in the chat had similar error to myself. You can get check out the live chat here:
Another upside to Kred, is that there is open API integration into the platform. Which means third pary companies that wish to use the data, can do so. Here is a great example of how Kred is being used by Rise.Global to create social influencer charts. Unfortunately for me, my ranking was better with Klout than Kred:
Skorr although not as well known, really impressed me with the downloable Android app, that is a work of art in itself. Very easy to use. No problems with OAUTH or login and a few really awesome features in the app. My favourite is the chart which shows where you are in terms of score in relation to your fellow influencers. As you can see I have some catching up to do....
It also includes a really great FAQ that answers many of my questions, around how the app scores you. You can see the FAQ here:
I also really like the friendly introductory video on their site:
The only downside, seems to be from a developer perspective, as the APIs are not available for general use. This means it can't be used by 3rd parties. You could argue that is a good thing, if you don't want your score to be used autonomously in an app. Or a bad thing, if you want to see how you rate against other influencers in a 3rd party charting system. Overall I believe in open APIs, so I see this as a downside for the world of influencing.
Interesting in learning more about social media scoring, GDPR or cloud security, please feel free to check out my portfolio of cloud training courses at ALC Training:
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Paul Colmer is a digital coach for ALC training and consulting, with a real passion for learning and applying disruptive technologies. Paul has responsibility for building and delivering ALC's digital architecture strategy and the development and execution of a number of cloud courses, including Cloud Security (CCSP), Amazon AWS, DevOps, Microsoft Azure and Office 365.