It's been a summer by the numbers: record-breaking highs in the Midwest, rainfall toted inch-by-longed-for-inch in drought-stricken areas, gold, silver, and bronze medal counts from the Olympics, and poll numbers, poll numbers, poll numbers.
I've kept tabs on all of the above but have been ignoring the monthly report of my Klout score. Update: I checked it as research for this post. Klout believes I'm influential about twenty topics, including
(I wish!), Paris , Reading (Hmm. I've heard of it.), and teeth (My dentist will be proud, not that I've ever, to my knowledge, tweeted about teeth.). In fairness, the system says my top topics include books, travel and tourism, and writing, and I'd like to think that's true. Pennsylvania
What's "Klout?" It's the measure—a number between 1 and 100--of a person's influence via social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumbler, LinkedIn. A recent change in the algorithm Klout uses takes in Wikipedia information and finally allowed President Obama to score higher than Justin Bieber.
Patricia Redsicker wrote an even-handed article on Klout as a determiner of value for Social Media Examiner. (Thanks to Lisa Hall-Wilson for pointing it out.) Whether or not you aspire to influence others, read this piece. Why? Here's Redsicker: "While the idea of being rated by some obscure online system seems outrageous, the fact is you ARE being judged whether you like it or not. And so you need to educate yourself about this issue so you can make some important decisions of your own."
Redsicker notes writer Seth Godin has a Klout score of zero because he refuses to use Twitter, while a joke account, @common_squirrel has a score of 64. Yet she finds value and food for thought in RETURN ON INFLUENCE, a book by Mark W. Shaefer about the power of social-media. She also provides tips for increasing influence if that's the way a reader chooses to roll.
No doubt my interest in Klout will increase when the weather cools. At the moment, I'm as hot as I've ever wanted to be.