Still interested in “content curation”? How about in “discovering good, relevant things to share with friends who share your interests”? You don’t want to bore or alienate your readers by sharing only your own posts, right? Content curation – choosing the right posts for the right audience at the right times, is a great idea. It’s also good karma to promote others. Have you tried Klout?
Oh, stop – I know that look. I forgot about Klout for the past year or so, too, and didn’t miss it much.
The Internet marketers’ obsession with “social media influencers” has always grated on my nerves, even as I see the importance of it – to them. Until the advent of Twitter and Facebook, it seemed that just about the time any social media platform got off the ground, the marketers would begin to salivate – then run in like bullies on a playground to take over, driving the folks who simply wanted to play in peace away. I’m sure this spawned more than one startup, as people dodged unwanted attention and ran to newer playgrounds – and helped to finance others designed to entice them to stay put. Ordinary people install ad blockers; platforms roll out “updates” to thwart them. It all starts to feel a bit orchestrated, not to mention exhausting. But by all means, brands and marketers urge – be yourself. Be original. Be creative.
And always strive for that social media influencer score as if it were key to your popularity and value as a human being. Sometimes we chase these things as if they were unicorns and we were on LSD, but it’s fairly pointless for all involved, once the players learn all the rules of the game and start cheating. Oh, yes – they try to “game the system,” becoming the opposite of original and creative in a frenzied race to say the same proven-popular sorts of things more authoritatively.
[If] people believe [their social media influencer scores, like Klout score] are being judged, especially in life- or career-affecting ways, they have every incentive to game the scores. They are goaded into behaving artificially on social networks: sharing safe Like-bait, and holding back anything they deem quirky, eccentric, or controversial. Anyone who doesn’t want to be an “influencer” comes under intense pressure to be, especially as “influence” becomes a measure of self-worth. The result: a lot more people trying to pass around the same articles, memes, and themes. A lot more homogeneity. A lot more noise, masquerading as signal. A self-defeating search for quality in an ocean of quantity.
But If Klout is Dead, Why Are We Talking About It?
Internet marketing is here to stay; it’s one of the things that helps support the “free” Internet. Once upon a time, people paid $6/hour and up for text-only network services and the company of about 5,000 other like-minded souls, using the down-time and extra capacity of business mainframes and hard drives. It was a frivolous luxury; the Internet today has insinuated itself into just about every aspect of our lives. To maintain a symbiotic relationship, marketers and casual users have to be useful to one another. An adversarial relationship isn’t healthy for anyone.
Klout used to offer “Perks.” Those were fun, until they consisted more of “discount coupons” or “free preview passes” than anything else. And I think there was more than a little unhealthy social snobbery involved – when a Klout score is used to determine a student’s grade or an applicant’s qualifications for work, this whole business of measuring social media influence takes a darker turn. It’s no longer organic; it’s competition to the death, for some, and cause for ridicule from others.
Klout’s kind of fun, now that it’s settled down and stopped trying so hard. It’s actually a fairly decent curation tool for Facebook and Twitter, helping to unearth good, relevant content you might actually want to share, and enabling you to schedule it to post at times when your friends and followers on those platforms may be most active and likely to re-share or comment.
Oh, that number is still there – and it still brings out my “weirdly competitive” side. But try tying it to my job performance or my worth as a human being, and I will mock you. It’s just a number.
67 and climbing.
Okay, now that that’s out of the way, how do you use Klout for content curation?
First, set up your account at Klout.com. Make sure you connect it to Facebook and Twitter, at a minimum, so you can also use the Schedule feature (you must allow it to post on your behalf, but it will only post what you ask it to post). While you’re at it, connect it to all your active social networks so it can generate that all-important “social media influencer” metric – your Klout Score.
If you’re trying to make it as a professional blogger, this may actually matter to someone in marketing. Beware: Oversharing crap no one cares to re-share or comment on can hurt your score, so just be a human being and ignore it, for the most part! Focus on sharing interesting, useful, “engaging” content. (That’s “curiosity generators” and “conversation starters” for us Boomers.)
At some point, once Klout gets to know you (and it may already know more than you think it ought to know about you!), you’ll see some areas of expertise and interests listed under your profile – or suggested to you – based on things you share and interact with online. You can choose up to 30 of these to add to your Klout profile. Over time, the suggestions will change and new areas of supposed expertise will be unearthed.
I’m not sure why Klout thinks I know anything about the U.S. National Guard, other than my creating a petition to get the government to stop demanding repayment, and start restoring re-enlistment bonuses that it shouldn’t have offered, but did, and is now contractually obligated to honor.
Anyway – pick the ones you want to be known in for your expertise. Ignore the ones that make no sense at all. I can almost guarantee no one’s ever going to look at your profile, but what do I know? Oh, right – @Klout says I’m an expert on Klout.
To edit your profile and topics at any time, click Settings at the lower left of the Klout window.
Once you’ve set up your Klout profile (making sure to use the bio field to include a URL back to your blog, for maximum SEO value to you), click Explore in the left-hand sidebar. You’ll see something like this:
It’s a general list of hot and relevant posts – supposedly new to your followers – that you can easily share right now or schedule for a later time. To the right, you will see a list of recommended “experts” in your favorite topics. These are people you might want to follow, based on their influence in your areas of expertise and interests. If you click the drop-down next to My Topics, you have a quick filter of posts based on a single, selected topic. To explore topics beyond those you’ve selected as your own areas of expertise and interest, you can either use the Search box at the upper left corner of the screen, or click the tags below suggested posts.
See a post that looks interesting? Click the Share button.
Click Share Now to share the post immediately (and click the Facebook or Twitter icons to select which networks you want – or don’t want – to share to). In this example, I’m sharing to both Facebook and Twitter. Clicking the network’s icon toggles it on or off, and if it’s off, it will be grayed out.
To share later, click the Schedule tab right below the post. You can view this either of two ways – calendar view:
Or full timeline view:
Klout suggests the best times for you to share – when the majority of your friends and followers are active on these platforms. You can override this by changing the date shown at the bottom, just to the left of the social network icons.
You can choose to shorten or not shorten links, and you can use the People tab to…hell, I don’t know what that’s supposed to do, since it can never seem to find any people. I assume it’s meant to suggest people to tag with @ mentions, but you’re probably on your own, there. Fortunately, you can edit your message in the Preview tab. If you’ve got Twitter selected, you are limited to a total of 140 characters.
BUG ALERT! If you copy and paste a URL into the text box – and only a URL – then try to add text to the front of the message, the URL may vanish. The whole post may vanish. It’s okay – type your text, first, then add the URL. You can edit text that’s already there, but you can’t add text in front of a post that consists only of a URL.
The Schedule tab shows your schedule of upcoming posts:
Hover over an upcoming post to Edit, Share Now, or Delete it.
To share or schedule your own content, click the little square-with-a-pen-in-it icon right above your name in the upper left corner:
This is essentially the same dialog you see whenever you click Share on Klout, and you can Share Now or set it up to post on a Schedule, later. If you choose a later date and time, this post will show up on the Schedule tab.
Still caring about that Klout score? Fine. Click Measure in the left sidebar.
That which gets measured gets done, right? (While writing this post, my score increased. I’m assuming it’s because I chose good posts to share, scheduled them, and they got some interaction, all in the last couple of hours. So this scoring appears to update on a very regular, if not real-time, basis.) You can see which networks I’m most active on and which are feeling a bit neglected, lately. For example, I rarely share my personal blog posts on LinkedIn – I may share those I feel are relevant in the workplace, but not the more frivolous or non-work-related posts. I see no point in turning LinkedIn into Facebook for Suits. But that’s just me. And I keep forgetting that my default privacy on Google+ is “me only” so although I do share all my posts there, using Jetpack Publicize, no one knows it. Foursquare is a nifty idea, but not my go-to for sharing and reviewing. I do use it, sometimes, to find new things to do and restaurants to try. And I have no idea why my scores on YouTube and Twitter are as high as they are; my activity on both is fairly inconsistent. Facebook should be 99.9%, but it’s relatively low. And this blog, apparently, counts for absolutely nothing.
You could let trying to figure out Klout’s algorithms twist you into a pretzel or turn you into a hamster on a wheel, but I suggest using Klout as a tool – and not letting it use you as one. Have fun!