Klout is Krap

Many people on Twitter and Facebook have posted their Klout score or other comments about their score going up or down. I will admit that I even went to the site and entered my info to see what my score was. Once I got my score I looked at it and moved on. Am I missing something here? Why is this something educators would or should be interested in? Isn’t this just another way of saying one person is better than me or that I am better than someone else?

When you look at their site it indicates that it measures your influence based on three pieces.
  • How many people you influence (True Reach)
  • How much you influence them (Amplification)
  • How influential they are (Network Score)

As an educator I have little problem with the Klout score but rather that people keep focusing on it. Isn’t the Klout score the same as awards and a bit of self-promotion? Are we trying to get a high score? Is that why we are doing what we are doing? Let’s keep Klout as it is, just another number that has no meaning on our value as educators. In one conversation it was tweeted that Klout was “something you died from on The Oregon Trail video game?”

For those educators still in favor of chasing a high Klout score, I would suggest we revise the Klout parameters and create a Teacher Klout score.

Teacher Klout:

How many people you influence (True Reach)
This would be based upon a number of elements. How many students have you inspired to do great things with their lives? How many students develop a love of learning while spending time in your classroom or school? How many parents have a renewed sense of pride and confidence in their children as a result of your work? How many teachers see your work and are inspired to be better?

How much you influence them (Amplification)
To what level is your impact on a child? How many students leave your classroom still talking about and spreading the lessons you taught? What life and content driven lessons will your students remember 5, 10, or 20 years after they leave your classroom? How many colleagues are learning from you and implementing your ideas in their classrooms? How many students outside of your classroom are benefiting from your resource or idea sharing?

How influential they are (Network Score)
How many of your students will become the next big thing? Which students will become teachers, doctors, lawyers, politicians, farmers, or engineers? Which students sitting in your class will have profound influence on society due to your work with them?

Klout in a classroom would be very difficult to measure because teachers often never see the true impact of their work. There is no way to effectively measure how much influence a teacher has on a student, family, or colleague. Even though I will never have an actual Teacher Klout score, I think I will keep chasing that high score.


John T. Spencer said...

I thought about posting on my Twitter bio "I'm kind of not a big deal." I don't have much Klout or clout for that matter.

Anonymous said...

It's the thing for now and will eventually be replaced by something else. My interactions with people are my choices and have nothing to do with Klout or my lack of it.

Jeremy M. said...

I'm going to be the Devil's advocate here. What's the difference then between posting your site's traffic or award nominations and Klout?

I don't check my Klout regularly (I typically keep it from flaring up with some ointment), but I don't see it as all bad.

I find it interesting to see the reach of my social media presence. I don't blog enough to have a following or tweet really anything of substance, but I do enjoy doing both. And to know that some one or some two out their may find it interesting is kind of cool.

I'm not looking to increase my Klout or make any "Influential Educators" list or receive any invites because of it, but I think all of us have an interest in what effect we might be having on those around us, as small as it might be.

jl8910 said...

I still feel shocked and delighted when a former student tells me a story about something I said or did in a class seven or eight years ago. I love your interpretation of the Klout "score" areas and the challenge they represent for me to bring all my best to my students (and my community) at every opportunity. The Klout number is...just a number based on an algorithm. My classroom clout on the other hand is one of those valuable things that can't be quantified.

Sheila Stewart said...

Yes, hoping this Klout "thing" doesn't become a detriment to authentic and sincere sharing and connecting! It is not Kool to me! :) Doubt if I would ever need to rely on that to tell me who "Klouts" my thinking, reflection or influence. Thanks, Josh!

Josh Stumpenhorst said...


I agree that it is "fun" to see the score and joke around about it. My concern is more about people determined to get a higher score and thinking that it is actually relevant to our jobs as educators. We can compare Klout scores, or Angry Bird scores...both have little bearing on how good of an educator you are or how influential you are in your work.

Joe Bower said...

Klout is yet another example of data alchemy & quantifiable witchcraft disguised as an objective measurement.

This is yet another example of what Gerald Bracey meant when he said we have a growing technology that allows us to do in nanoseconds what we shouldn't be doing at all.

Awesome post


Anthony said...

I use my Klout score as a self motivator. When I see my Klout fall, I know that I am not communicating with teachers as I should be. I am on another teacher network called Plurk. I use the Karma on there in the same way. If I see it fall, then I need to take control of my sharing and talking with others to bring it back up. I don't use either as a way of self promotion to others, but rather as a piece of data to keep me sharing and talking with other educators around the world.

Sheila Stewart said...

So there might be a healthy balance in this....a self-assessment guide/tool, as opposed to competing with others and/or self-promotion?

bachwords said...

This wouldn't happen to be another arbitrary standardized test, would it? Standardized testing for tweeps measuring what? Twitter is about sharing, collaboration, the conversation and engaging in dialogue. If you're focused on numbers, such as Klout, you're missing the point. Rest assured, good things will "follow" if you are your true, authentic self. It's about quality folks, not quantity.

David Truss said...

Great post! Given this news item:  http://online.wsj.com/video/the-measured-life-what-your-klout-score/DFE1848E-E3DD-4D9D-8CAD-6BBE3BC73BA2.html I wonder if we don't have an obligation to teach students *something* about these tools in the same way we teach them to be media savvy, shouldn't we also teach them to be social savvy?