Deconstructing Klout Topics - Part 2

As a follow-up to my previous post on "Deconstructing Klout Topics" published 4 days ago (January 13, 2012), I thought it might be helpful to show how the test has progressed.

Late last night at approximately 10:30 pm (yes I was checking every 4-6 hours for changes) the topic "social media measurement" appeared in the blue sash on my Klout score. Yet during the day I received not even one additional +k on that topic. So what changed?

I received the last +k on that topic on January 12 in the morning and according to Klout that brought my total to 10 according to Klout (since I started this test on January 12th), yet before the last +K was  given I was also at 10 so obviously a technical issue on Klout's end for not upping the count. Regardless it moved me to position 59 between Perrier Pelser #58 with 10 +Ks (http://klout.com/#/BerriePelser) and Jeannette Baer #60 with only 9 +ks (http://klout.com/user/MyAgenda) and to my surprise Perrier also didn't have the topic on his slash either but Jeannette did.

This morning when I checked (after the nightly Klout update), the count of +k on this topic was correct at 11 and I had moved up to position 51 between Jeff Esposito (http://klout.com/user/jeffespo) and Goefry Zorrilla (http://klout.com/user/goefry) both of whom have the topic of "social media measurement" as part of their blue sash.

Now while I able to garner the topic in my blue sash, Perrier Pelser still doesn't have it as part of his blue sash, but he has been granted since yesterday a yellow sash for "Social Networks" (meaning Klout has determined on it's own that he is one of the top 20 influential people on this topic) which clearly shows that Klout has updated his sahes. As of writing this he's now in position number 59 and topic "social media measurement" for both of us, is still rated as High while for some lower in the list (fewer +k) it is rated as strong.

What might I have done that Perrier Pelser (aka Ber|Art WordPress ) didn't do, that I now deserve the blue sash? While I have been paid little to no attention to his on-line activities, I've made it a very conciousness decision to write the previous blog post on social media measurement, I've talked up a fair bit a conference keynote that I'm going to deliver next week on the subject of "Social Media Measurement" across multiple social media platforms that generated many retweets, shares, G+ and likes. The result, I got recognized that I do yield some influence on this topic while Perrier most likely kept doing what he does and garnered a yellow sash on the topic of "Social Networks".

 So what conclusions can I make from this test as how Klout Topics are influenced by the giving of +k's.

1. Getting a +K does move you up the topic leader board, but on their own doesn't get you a sash;
2. If Klout doesn't think you influence on a topic and you or someone else adds the topic to your list it isn't going to get you the blue sash unless you can truly demonstrate you actually yield some influence on the topic (as determined by Klout).

I think this is an excellent position for Klout take and should stop people from topic bombing Klout for bragging rights or for whatever value they see in the blue sash. And if you do truly think that you do yield influence on a specific topic that Klout hasn't assigned you, then yes get lots of +k on the topic, but adjust how phrase things to actually focus the the topic.

If you want to keep helping with this experiment, please be sure to G+, share, like and tweet out this blog post plus don't forget to give me a +K on the topic of "Social Media Measurement". Also give it a try yourself and let me know how your results compare.


Deconstructing Klout Topics

If you're at all familiar with the world of social media you've know doubt heard of Klout. I'm not hear to praise or condemn their attempt to measure and quantify an individuals success using various social mediums (social media), but to explore their recent changes to their topics lists.

The use of "topics" as part of Klout's evaluation is an attempt by Klout to ascertain and make public specific topics that individuals are influential on. This is not to say that you are one of the top influencers on a given topic just because it is listed in your profile but that from all your social media posts, engagements, likes, retweets, comments, etc. and of interactions by others that they initiated that these topics have occurred highest in your data stream.

Of course, Klout knows that they might be wrong and a single post that takes off might yield undo influence and affect these topics. So a few months back they allowed you to delete topics that you feel are not appropriate. But the key question became what about topics that Klout doesn't find and associate with you.

To resolve this issue about 2 months ago, Klout allowed individuals to add topics to their own accounts and to accounts of others. This is a simple process, you simply navigate to the persons Klout Topic page and click on the "Add Topic" button. Of course it will cost you. The cost 5 Klout +K (most people get 5 a day). And now you have a new topic in your (or someone else's) topic list. You can then choose to share this with the world via Twitter or Facebook and then encourage others to agree with you by giving a +K to that topic (a vote in simplest terms).

So that's the basic, now here comes the fun part. If Klout feels you're one of the top influencers on a given topic they give you a yellow sash on your Klout score and if you're one of the top +K receipients for that topic you get a blue sash. While so far I've only received a blue shash, I was curious as to how Klout determines who gets these. Is it purely a numbers game (the more +K the better) or is it a combination of +K plus some external factors. Faced with this thought, I of course went out to see what I could find.

Step 1 - I added a topic to my list of topics "social media measurement". I thought this was appropriate since I lecture on the topic at various conferences and have moderated a few panels on it as well. Of course simply adding the topic didn't generate a sash.

Step 2 - I took a closer look at a random sampling of those listed by Klout as top +K recipients and noticed from the ones I looked into that all had the appropriate blue sash with the topic listed. So I concluded that you had to be one of the top 100 to get it.

Step 3 - I mentioned my test to a few friends and started generating some +K to the topic of "social media measurement". What I noticed from this is that Klout evaluation of my topic changed from "Low" to "Medium" to "High" and moved the topic up high in the list. There is one further level of "Strong" which I've yet to achieve for this topic (I have for 4 other topics and for 2 of the topics I have a sash) and still no appearance on sash.

Step 4 - I looked at the list of top 100 again and noticed that my 9 +K placed me in 65th position. I then checked the +K counts of those 1 above (Matt_pierson)  and 1 below(Eric Melin) my listing. We all have 9+ Ks yet both of them have "social media measurement" listed in their sash but alas not I. I further checked and noticed that Eric Melin (listed below me) had comment of strong while Matt_pierson (listed above me) was also rated as high. So why the difference in ratings for the same number if +Ks?

From what I could see, it looks like Matt_pierson received multiple +Ks from same person. While the total +Ks is the same perhaps their is a waiting issue if the same people keep voting for your topic. Yet this didn't affect the order we appeared in so I'll assume it has something to do with timing (most recent to receive 9 appears at the bottom).

Based on reviewing these discoveries I have 2 theories. One that it will appear in my sash shortly, but it that might only occur during a major update (not a daily update). Or more likely that Klout is using other factors beyond +K to determine if you truly deserve the topic you'v add or was assigned to you.

So for now I'll wait & see what it takes to get "Social Media Measurement" as topic in my sash. Will this truly mean I yield influence on the topic and that people agree that I do or will it mean that I was able to manipulate the opportunity for a more informative sash. Perhaps a little of both.

If you'd like to help with this experiment, you can do two things. First make sure to Like, G+ and share this post (scoring tools like that kind of stuff) and secondly go to my Klout topics page and give me a +K on "Social Media Measurement". I'll be monitoring it daily for now, and I'll post back an update when I get rate a "Strong" and if and when it appears in my blue sash.