Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Why is My Klout Network Breakdown Graph Wrong?

I must admit that I have never taken Klout too seriously. The simple fact is that I don't think one's social influence can be easily quantified. At least as far as the average person is concerned, I am not sure it is quite so easy to say Person A is more influential than Person B and attach a numerical score to that. That having been said, Klout does have its benefits in the form of perks (the free products or services that business occasionally give away through Klout). It can also be useful in seeing how well one is doing on various social media sites. That is, one can see on which social media sites one does best and what sort of posts does best.

Sadly, that has become a bit harder for me to do in the past week. Among Klout's features are the Network Breakdown Graph, a circle graph that displays the percentage that any particular social media site contributes to one's Klout Score. In the past this graph has been somewhat accurate for me. Google+ and Twitter were generally in a statistical tie, each hovering around 35%. Facebook was always third, usually around  20%. LinkedIn and Klout itself comprised everything else. In the past week or so, however, things changed dramatically. For some reason Google+, the social network I use the most, on which I have the most followers, and on which I get the most interaction, is stuck at a mere 5%. Keep in mind that I post as much as I always have to Google+ and I get as much interaction from people as I ever have on Google+, so obviously that's not the problem.  I might also point out that I have not increased the amount I tweet on Twitter or post on Facebook, so that can also be discounted.

Now since I am still posting frequently to Google+and still getting the same number of comments and +1s that I always have and I have not increased my activity on other social media sites, one might conclude that Klout simply is not retrieving my Google+ data. That does not seem to be the case either. Klout groups posts from one's posts to various social media sites and the activity generated from them into what they call "moments." These moments are rated from one to five as to the amount of impact they have on one's Klout score. Scrolling through my moments not only do I see a few more Google+ posts than Twitter tweets, but I see many, many more Google+ posts than Facebook posts. What is more, most of my Google+ moments are generally rated from "2" to "3" and I even have one that rated a "4". On the other hand, most of my Twitter moments mange only "1" to "2" at best, while my all of my Facebook moments (which are pretty few compared to Twitter or G+) receive only a "1". Not only is it clear that Klout is retrieving my Google+ activity, but it seems clear that, unless Klout has decided to drastically undervalue activity on Google+ in the past week, Google+ has more of an impact on my Klout score than Facebook at the least.

Given that it is clear that Klout is retrieving my Google+ activity, I then have to say I am mystified as to why the percentages on my Network Breakdown graph are off by so much. I can only guess that somehow the information Klout has gathered from Google+, which apparently has gone towards my score (otherwise it would have dropped dramatically in the past week), is not making it onto the graph. At any rate, this situation does seem to render the Network Breakdown graph useless to me.

In the end, I suppose it is not terribly important. I really don't need a graph to tell me on which social media sites I am most influential or on which social media sites my posts get the most response. Still, the Network Breakdown graph was a useful tool whereby one could see his or her success in a handy little graphic. It was certainly much easier than skimming through one's Klout moments or, worse yet, skimming through one's posts on each social media site. It is then a little sad to see that the Network Breakdown graph is no longer working.

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