Friday, November 25, 2011

Klout Computing!

Yes. This is not about Cloud Computing. Post the viral adoption of social networks, analytics has picked up big time in recent months. The end result - plethora of online services available to perform analytics on social network data.

I tried Klout and Mirror Me!. Would suggest not to try those without reading further!.

While people in real world aspire for coveted titles and powerful positions, in the virtual world, the same people aspire for 'Influence'. Influence is about a person's ability to drive action in others (without power). The influential ability is called 'Clout' and Gaining this Clout is gaining lot more prominence in virtual world these days!.

A decade ago, Google tried to rank 'pages' based on their popularity. But today,the algorithms are
trying to rank the actual 'people' to assess their popularity and influence.

Klout is one such company that connects to all social network sites to evaluate your activity and come out with your Klout metric.It reports the metric in the scale of 1-100. If you are measured in the range of 70s or so, You are really really influential in the online world.

This leads to several interesting, but controversial questions:

1. Am afraid we are moving towards a celebrity culture than an inclusive one. People are literally going to compete to score and maintain a higher Klout to achieve their goals in "real" lives.

2. People who are really busy and adding value to their stakeholders may not find time to tweet/talk or network in virtual world. This doesn't mean that those people do not have enough Klout. Klout is all about Online Clout and nothing more.

3. This trend also implicitly expects that people in online world to be expressive, a post here, a tweet there, a post now, a photo later, etc. This again can not be expected from broad range of people, especially people who are conservative/introverts. This doesn't mean they do not have Clout.

4. Most of the content floating around in social networks are trivia. What is the significant business value one can get by analyzing this data?

5. No Doubt, its a competitive arsenal for Marketing. Gaining insights on current trends & influencing the influencers will greatly enhance the marketability of a product/service.  Am amazed by the capabilities of one such tool - Data Sift.  I was discussing with my ex-Colleague Paramesh that next US President election could be largely influenced by DataSift kind of tools.

6. Privacy - To compute your Klout score, the site will ask you the permission to scan your online activities even when you have not logged on. And this applies to a number of sites that you are associated with. While giving permission is a click away, revoking them may not be straightforward/easy.

7. Algorithms - What is the basis for computing the Klout? There could be various ways of measuring Clout depending on the weightage given to the nature of activities online.

8. People's persona cannot be measured only by their social network activities. Social Network is a public place where people are expected to follow certain etiquette. And People behave according to the implicit rules/norms to get associated with the larger group. However, this behavior generally arises out of their aspiration or the need for 'Personal Branding' and may not be based on what they truly are. Measuring a person's Clout purely based on their social network activity may be skewed.

9. Quantity scores more than Quality. If you have more connections in the network, you have higher chances of gaining more Clout than others.

So ,Beware of 'Klout Computing'!

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