A whole new approach to Klout

I was looking at my Klout page last month when I noticed the completely new layout, as well as my score having jumped a little bit. Klout is an online tool that provides a score of “Klout” which measures influence across social network sites, as well as sites that are included under what Beer considers to be the umbrella of ‘Web 2.0’. I’ve been using this site for the past year and it has been interesting to see how over time, Klout has evolved, improving, adding different variables and ways of viewing how your score is made up. In explaining the recent, big changes in the look, function and feel of Klout, Emily Price with her article on Mashable, “Your Klout Score Just Changed. Here’s Why,” made me review back to the readings and how Klout could be understood through them.

To sum up the article a little bit, Price splits the piece into the different parts, the first being an introduction, relating the general numbers of how much more Klout efficiency has improved, (100 variables to over 400, 12 times more data points per day as compared to before). But Price also gives the most important point, on how the focus of Klout has moved towards the individual posts one makes and their reach and reception by the general audience, as well as your friends. In the second part of her article she talks about how “real-world influence” has been melded more into the Klout score. After this she addresses Klout Moments and how the whole experience of Klout has been altered.  In the last part of her article, she gives tips of what to do to raise one’s Klout score.

The approach of Price to this article is closest to the Social Construction of Technology. We’re directly influencing the technology. Giving a quote from Fernandez, the founder and CEO of Klout in which he mentions a frustration people used to have and how they’ve responded and updated Klout with an improved version, based on the user’s frustration is an example of this. Also, the quote: “Klout should make you feel important, and make you feel listened to.,” is another great example, of this article leaning towards the discourse of the Social Construction of Technology.

Klout can be seen arising from social contexts—and also other social technologies. And also, bringing in a little bit of what Baym gives in her book, Personal Connections in the Digital Age on the Social shaping of technology: “People, technologies, and institutions all have power to influence the development and subsequent use of technology.” (45, Baym) So in this case it’s a technology (Klout) that is based on multiple other technologies (Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc.). But given the last section of Price’s article, where she gives the factors in what influence one’s Klout score—whether it be on Facebook with likes or Twitter with retweets and replies. These sorts of guidelines could affect the way one uses the different platforms.

Klout really reaffirms what boyd & Ellison say in their piece Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship: “SNSs are primarily organized around people, not interests.” (10). Klout aggregates ones proposed influence from each of the SNSs, everything based on the Klout user, it’s made to be user-centric.

Beer in his article, Social network(ing) sites . . . revisiting the story so far: A response to danah boyd & Nicole Ellison, talks about how the terminology and common approach to online cultures is limited and is in need of re-definition. In a way, a service like Klout serves to redefine all of these sites in a way, relative to each other and the individual. In his article, Beer also talks about how “SNS can be understood as vast archives of information about their users, accumulated as they create content.” (7) I found this quote very interesting because all of these networks are archives of us, the individual, therefore Klout, having introduced the new “Best Moments” scheme gives us the highlights of our archives, whether it be from Facebook or Twitter.

Klout is an interesting service based on SNS. It attemps to in a way serve as a launching pad for ones social media personality and influence. One can be an “influencer” in certain topics, receive Klout from friends and with these new features, will be able to mediate their own content even better. The ability to see which of their posts engage their users the most is an amazing tool when we’re all producers and creators of content. Beer would appreciate looking at Klout as a great platform for the knowing capitalist, aggregated information from seven social networks onto one, with these new features mentioned in the article introduced especially. The article was great in highlighting the new way Klout functions, and the drastically new improvements to their system.

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