Popularity Contest

All media producers want to know who their audience is. Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Title: Audience at a Frontier Fiesta show

There are lots of different ways to measure audiences. In Australia, Unitam is installed in thousands of homes to measure how many people are watching which shows. GFK is set to take over measuring radio audiences, incorporating a new online element.

But what happens when it comes to measuring online audiences?

When it comes to social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, its easy to tell how many friends or followers you have. The number is often used to gauge a person or organisation’s influence.

But how accurate is this? Does having a thousand Facebook friends mean that you’re more influential than someone with only two hundred?

Many people disagree.

Klout appears to be offering a different perspective.

For a quick introduction to the concept, watch this:


Klout goes beyond just looking at social media audiences in terms of their numbers. It cross-references Twitter and Facebook and other major social networks, to measure a person’s actual influence.

Each person gets a score out of 100, with 100 having the highest influence. This is based on how active you are on social media, how your followers/friends respond to you, as well as how many of them there actually are.

My face when I found out my Klout score

Even if I tweeted and retweeted all day long,  if no one was retweeting or mentioning me, my score would not be very high. This would probably be because what I was saying was not relevant or interesting.

Whereas someone like Kim Kardashian, who has millions of followers who are very interested in what she’s up to, would have a higher score (it’s 88, to be precise).

Barack Obama has a score of 99. This makes sense.

Obviously, there are flaws in the system. Just because a follower doesn’t retweet you doesn’t mean you don’t influence them. And, just because someone retweets you, it doesn’t mean you are actually impacting them.

However, it represents a significant step towards combining quantitative and qualitative data.

If you’ll excuse me, I have to go improve my Klout score.





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