On Thursday, Klout launched a big redesign with a focus on "creating content," which I suggested was really more about sharing content that others have created, and basically seems like a social news reader.
Klout CEO Joe Fernandez tells WebProNews, "The product we launched today is only the first step in Klout's journey to help our users be better content creators. Sharing articles was a natural place for us to start, since curation is such a huge part of what most active social users do on a daily basis. That said, even sharing articles requires an element of original content creation."
Fernandez also said the new Klout is the first product its ever launched that truly helps users. Do you think this will help you build more influence on the Internet? Do you think Klout score is a solid measurement of influence? Let us know in the comments.
"We've seen that articles that are shared without personal commentary do not produce as many engagements as those which also contain a point of view on what's being shared," he adds. "Our hope in surfacing these articles is that users are inspired to add their own thoughts and to share with their networks."
"We will be Implementing features over the coming months that help our users with original content creation," he says. "We think that our data can offer a unique perspective on original content creation that will help users produce a bigger impact from their audience."
Ultimately that's what Klout is all about, seeing how much of an impact you can have on your audience. Your Klout score is meant to symbolize how much of an impact you're having. The algorithm for scoring, by the way, is not changing with the new Klout.
If you're familiar with Klout, you know that users are presented with topics that they are supposed to have "klout" in. For example, you may have klout in SEO or in social media. The new design utilizes these topics (which you can add) to deliver you content recommendations for sharing with your followers.
"The Klout Topics system is one of the assets that we're most proud of," Fernandez tells us. "We've been investing in it for years, and our new product is the first to fully take advantage of it. The Topics system is based on a living ontology of ~10k topics. It adapts and grows based upon what's being shared on social media and is managed by a team of data scientists who rationalize it on a regular basis."
Topics are only one of the signals the new Klout uses to determine what to show in your news feed.
"The Klout content stream is based upon what's being shared across social media," Fernandez explains. "Although trending stories are included, it is far more interesting to talk about the stories which are not trending. We apply 'flags' to many of these articles in order to show you what articles are most likely to get a reaction from your audience for a multitude of reasons."
These flags are: "on the rise," "crowd pleaser," "hidden gem," and "hot off he press," and are mostly self-explanatory, but Fernandez explained exactly what they mean. "On the rise" means the content is on the verge of trending. "Crowd pleaser" means a significant portion of a user's network is interested in the topics in the content. "Hidden gem" means a large percentage of people in the user's network haven't seen it. "Hot of the press" of course means it was recently published by a trusted source, though it's unclear what makes a source "trusted".
"We also believe that someone should get more credit for finding something that's not already trending, although that credit is determined by the reactions a user's network has to the content when shared," Fernandez adds.
But let's face it. No algorithm is perfect, and that include's Klout's. You're going to get some irrelevant stuff from time to time, especially for broad categories. For the "social media" tag, for example, I was shown a BuzzFeed article "10 Pictures That Prove Bruno Mars Is Actually Powerline From "A Goofy Movie". I can't honestly see how sharing an article like that proves my worth to the social media industry.
Fernandez says, "The 'Social Media' topic is definitely one of our broadest topics. We continue to invest in topical science to refine some of these broader tags. We would recommend that users add more specific topics within the social media space to find the most sharable content about social media."
As mentioned, Klout is planning to add more tools on top of all of this. For one, they'll be adding more social networks to share content on. Klout has historically let you connect to a variety of networks, including LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Foursquare, etc. As it stands now, you can only share content to Twitter and Facebook. Fernandez tells us support for additional networks is on the way (in the coming months).
But the big focus area, he says, is on providing more tools that are actually around original content creation, as well as providing more advanced measurement to help people determine the impact of the content they create.
"We will also be launching our new mobile app in the coming weeks which will bring our content creation features into our app," he says. "We expect this to be incredibly valuable to users given the that so much content creation happens on mobile."
"We're incredibly excited about this launch," he adds. "It's the first product from Klout that truly helps our users. We believe in the power of each person's voice, and look forward to providing more tools to help people have an impact."
We've seen reports in the past of employers using applicants' Klout scores in hiring decisions. I don't know how much this is actually happening, but if your'e ever put into a situation that can be altered by your Klout score, I suppose anything that can help you boost it is a plus, though it still seems to me if you really deserve your "klout," you'll be good enough at creating content and sharing the right stuff with or without this new offering.
What do you think of the new Klout? Of Klout in general? How seriously do you take Klout score? Let us know in the comments.
Image via Klout