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Is Klout’s Social Measuring Relevant Now That It Has Copied Quora?
By: Tom Roarty
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As mentioned in a previous article for Talent Zoo, I believed that Klout was once headed in the right direction to help separate those who could be prospective social media experts from those who are social media hobbyists. However, after an article released by Wired.com this past week, I no longer have the same faith in the app that I once did.
According to Steven Levy, the article’s author, Klout wants to break away from just the scorekeeping aspect of its business to become more of a social network. The premise is that if you have a question, you can now ask a “Klout Expert” who will eventually, in real time as the service catches on, be able to answer your question. The premise sounds good, but is it good for Klout?
Although the service will continue to track social influences, will it spread itself thin by taking on this new aspect of their business? And, in time, will these experts monopolize the Klout landscape to the point where emerging social experts will not have a fair shot at a higher Klout score? Maybe most importantly, what would a Klout score even be worth once the service abandons its statistical model as its main focus to take on a social presence? Is it not in some way a conflict of interest as the company measuring social influences tries to emerge as a social site?
The concept of being able to ask a question and get an answer already exists in an app called Quora, which already has 180,000-plus monthly active users. The strange thing about Quora is that while it is still growing on a daily basis and has been around since 2010, it is a service not currently being monitored by Klout. That's strange since it is already popular, but the influencers using it don’t count, since now Klout has a competing product to go against the service. It comes down to business ethics over relativity.
For employers that were looking for social media employees, Klout seemed as if its service would provide some answers as to a candidate’s successfulness in the field. A service, if perfected, which could have been a valuable asset to a social media employer. By adding this new element into its business model and excluding pre-existing popular social media apps, there is no possible way it could boast an accurate social influence reading. It would appear that measuring influence wasn’t as exciting or as lucrative as actually being a social site, but you can’t have it both ways.
With this new introduction into Klout’s future, it has abandoned what it was once an expert in. Is it a strong plan? Time will tell; it is concerning that out of the few existing Social Influence Measuring Apps available, Klout appeared to be the strongest, and while building its reputation, it decided to abandon the plan. It just goes to show, however, that even those who judge influence sometimes need to be judged themselves. Klout has turned a relevant tool into just another social media site and hopefully this will work out in its favor while social media experts look for the next tool to help them measure their worth.

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