The Higher Your Klout, the Better the Perks?

By Rega Jha

Photo by Saad Faruque/Flickr Creative Commons
The average person is a 20. All of my most social-network-savvy friends fall somewhere between 45 and 55, and Zuckerberg is a 53. Colbert is a 76, Oprah an 84, and Justin Bieber is allegedly the most influential person in the world, with a full 100 points. POTUS is at a respectable 94, which makes Obama slightly less influential than the Biebs, but precisely as influential as Lady Gaga.

What’s the source for all these verdicts? Klout.com, and it isn’t new by any means. Founded in 2008, it got really popular when it changed its algorithm last year, making it a daily destination for those who care about social influence. Klout analyses your behavior across social media platforms, and tells you how “influential” you are, ie how many other influential people are sharing your content.

I’ve known about Klout for about a year. I’ve rejected it for just as long. I thought it was an unnecessary blow to the ego (or boost, if you’re lucky), a gimmicky tool. But Klout drifted back onto my radar a couple of weeks ago when my friend Nikhita Kamath, a senior studying Media at New York University, filled me in on her summer internship at Digitas. For the last four weeks, interns at the internationally acclaimed ad agency have been frantic to raise their Klout scores, because at the end of the summer, those who are most effective will win both recognition and gift cards from the company.

Now that employers and recruiters both seem to be paying special attention to that score, Klout is no longer avoidable. It’s still problematic to calculate something as subjective as “influence” based on something as objective as math. But in a world where social networks really are the platform of the future, your ability to navigate them translates to your ability to adapt, succeed, and move others to action. That’s why Klout is currency. That’s why in the future, I predict the higher your Klout score is, the better your chances will be of being upgraded the next time you take a flight, getting deals on hotel rooms, receiving discounts in stores, and getting preferential treatment from a number of  brands. Also, in some cases, the higher that number is for you, the more likely you are to get that job you’re interviewing for.

All I’m saying is, if it can get me jobs, promotions, discounts, and upgrades just for being mildly articulate and somewhat well-liked, then this a bandwagon that I will jump on. Have you checked your score?