Friday 2 September 2011

Klout's True Reach? Simply your follower count

In yesterday's post I busied myself with new ways of looking at Twitter statistics. Today I was suggested to compare them to Klout scores. I did, and I found out that their True Reach - that vast, impressive number that you probably look up to - is nothing more than a simple mathematical equation

Klout has three pillars for their so-called Influence measure: True Reach, Amplification and Network. Here are their definitions:
  • Your True Reach is the number of people you influence. We filter out spam and bots and focus on the people who are acting on your content. When you post a message, these people tend to respond or share it
  • Your Amplification is how much you influence people. When you post a message, how many people respond to it or spread it further? If people often act upon your content you have a high Amplification score
  • Your Network indicates the influence of the people in your True Reach. How often do top Influencers share and respond to your content? When they do so, they are increasing your Network score
(emphasis all mine)
Notice something there? It looks all the same to me - but then again it takes great skill to be concise and to the point at the same time

According to Klout:
  • True reach shows the number of people that respond to or share a message of yours.
  • Amplification shows how many people respond to or spread further a message of yours.
What's the difference between that? None if you ask me, yet there's usually a factor of 30 through 150 difference between both - unless you think there's a difference between "sharing" and "spreading it further" of course?

So, I got the Klout scores for every one of my 20 "test-subjects" and I now know what True Reach really is: simply your number of followers divided by a factor (let's call that the True Reach Factor shall we?) in between 2.3 and 2.8: that's what the above picture shows

Even Lady Gaga (Klout score 92) has a factor of 2.8 - I can't imagine that of those 14 million followers, a substantial enough part consists of Influencers - at least 99% of those must have no Influence whatsoever, leaving a whopping 140,000 people to be considered Influential...

"When you post a message, these people tend to respond or share it" is what Klout says about their True Reach. I tell you: it is simply a number, mathematically derived from the amount of people that follow you, with an 18% deviation - that means that in between the biggest "loser" and the biggest "winner" according to Klout, there's only a maximum distance of 18% - True reach is for more than 82% simply determined by one's amount of followers

So, instead of using a number for True Reach, Klout may simply suffice with showing a simple digit ranging from 2.3 to 2.8 - but that wouldn't look that impressive would it?

But what determines that 0.5 difference, statistically insignificant as it is? Klout claims they exclude bots and spam, but I'm positive that, like Microsoft Windows attracts the most viruses and spyware because it's the biggest consumer operating system in this world, Lady Gaga attracts the motherload of bots and spam - yet she has the biggest True Reach factor

I tried very, very hard to relate that 2.3-2.8 to something meaningful, something to be calculated. It isn't the networks you're a part of; my Klout account is based on Twitter alone and my factor is 2.60, whereas Robert Scoble signed up for 9 out of 10 networks Klout claims to measure (all except Blogger), and has a factor of 2.62 - how insignificant is that difference?
Robert must feel really stupid that he went through all that trouble to please Klout and find out that he only outperforms me, who did his best not to please Klout any which way he could, by 0.76%

So, if you did worry about your Klout True Reach, or were going to: don't. If you want to increase your Klout True Reach, all you have to do is follow more people acquire more followers on Twitter - you can safely ignore all other social networks
Double-check that? Sure, I aim to please. Tim O'Reilly has a TR factor of 2.56, Tim Berners-Lee does a swell 2.78, and the Dalai Lama trails at 2.54. Needless to say, the only network Klout "measures" for them is Twitter

Next post: Klout Network, or Klout Amplification, algorithm revealed. Ambitious? Yes - because I know those are subject to actual Twitter actions. But I'll lay my hands on the last 1,500 tweets for every single tweep out of that 20-person list, and see where I end up

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