Obsession with Social capital is here to stay

If you are a part of the social media fraternity or even a keen observer of social, you would have heard about the big fuss around Klout changing their methodology for scoring online social capital. If the buzz on twitter is to be believed it seems that more people have had their scores downgraded than upgraded as positioned by a blog post from them. But then again it’s always the unhappy people that are the vocal ones in a situation like this rather than the ones who are positively impacted, so it’s hard to refute their claim and possibly wrong as well. Personally I understand the frustration some people may have around their new lowered scores, me being one of the people impacted as well (-ve 10 points). But I believe Klout has done the right thing here and here are my thoughts on this.

Obsession with Social Capital will continue
I found some of the conversations about the new Klout scoring very amusing. Many people professed that they didn’t care about their social score and that the entire system of measuring social influence was flawed and superficial but to me the fact that they were upset and bothered to have an opinion was proof enough that they really cared. Let’s accept it, checking out your klout score is equivalent to checking yourself out whenever you are in vicinity of a mirror, you can’t help it, it’s just the way we are all wired. We all need a standard or benchmark that we measure ourselves with and that doesn’t necessarily translate into being superficial, because we all know looking good is as much how you feel on the inside as much it is on the outside. So no matter what the social media enthusiasts tell you about them not caring, they actually do. Is Klout the only answer out there? i don’t know, but I am pretty sure measuring social capital is here to stay for good.

Brands and marketers will always pay attention to Social Capital
Most marketers today know that there are no accurate measures to social capital and influence and that this industry is in its nascent stage but there is no doubt in my mind that this will get better and more transparent with time. As a marketer closely associated with social I haven’t seen any listening or Buzz tool worth its salt that doesn’t filter buzz by some influence measure or the other. Its common sense that with so much buzz around marketers may not have the resources to cope with all of it so they will need to prioritize and one way to do that is by influence.

What is the best way to measure social capital is debatable, but its importance is not in question.
Make no mistake that no matter which side of the debate you are on social capital is here to stay. Klout and others like Peerindex and Empire Avenue may not have nailed it completely but they are definitely on the right track to have chosen a high growth and high potential service offering. I must say Hats off to them to have got in early here.

Why I think Klout did this.

These are some of the reasons I think they did it but this is just my gut feel and not backed by any data. So don’t come after me.
– They may have been highly skewed towards twitter and the fact that there were many more formidable networks emerging, it may have been difficult to keep it real, relevant and balanced. So was there previous algorithm wrong, not really it made sense in a world where twitter and blogs were king in terms of public content, but now things are different.
– The other reason I think is that they may have been too volume focused and less engagement focused and they decided that it needed to be fixed.
– Better getting it right and keeping it relevant then staying wrong because of fear of upsetting people is the philosophy here i believe.

Final thoughts if I think could they have done this better? – I say yes. They could have given more heads-up, been more transparent about ‘Why’ and done it gradual. Will this affect their future – No way. If you ask me, I think they have benefited out of this. There are so many people who didn’t know about Klout and have now decided to join to figure out what the fuss is all about, and for those who are upset, they are going to forget about it as soon as they have their weekend drinks.