Posted in personal, The Wired Mom
October 27, 2011

It’s not you, it’s Klout.

If you’re on Twitter with a fairly geeky network, you’ve probably heard people moaning about their Klout scores changing.

Klout is a site that gauges your influence over various social networks, and today they unveiled a new algorithm. For people with high scores, it wasn’t uncommon for them to drop as many as 20 points.

Why? Well, their algorithm is a secret, but from what they’ve hinted at- it was unfairly giving weight to elements it shouldn’t have. The only frustration I have is that when Klout discussed these changes, they’ve said they’re being more transparent, at the same time they haven’t actually said much of anything.

Blizzard is a good example of how to change things without giving too much away. When they roll out a patch and alter skill trees for a game class, they say that they noticed the class was overpowered because of this skill and so they’ve altered it. It tells you what the problem was, but doesn’t tell you how to play the altered class. It’s up to you to figure it out. There’s no reason that Klout couldn’t say, “We noticed that it was raising your score if you were just linked to a lot of networks, even if you don’t do anything on them.” That doesn’t tell you how to raise your score now, other than putting in some work on other social networks.

Realistically, a high Klout score shouldn’t be your goal. Focus on building an active network of like-minded people, RT posts that are relevant to you and you’ll get some real clout.

In one of my last Wired Mom posts, I talked about Twitter, and my rules for using it. I thought I’d add one more thing to think about here.

Be extremely careful about using unusual characters in posts. I follow a writer that uses characters (ASCII, not the literary kind) to plug his books. The posts include the title, his name and a link to his website (which unfortunately looks like something designed in 1995 on Geocities), which has links to the various places you can buy the book. If you’re viewing it through Twitter.com, you can see the characters just fine- and the title looks properly epic.

On the other hand, if you’re viewing it on your phone or through another program- usually all I see is a row of boxes. I suppose what I’m saying is that you should be extremely careful about what sort of tweets you use them in.

Awhile back, Dylan Meconis started telling a story using Twitter (archived here at Dame Jetsam). She posted the musings of a woman shipwrecked. Then other people joined in as characters and the story continued. But a good part of it used upside down characters.

However, there’s a big difference. These were story tweets, and meant to be viewed in a web browser. The author I mentioned is trying to sell a book. Books which can be read on any device now. Why would I click on a link to buy a book if I can’t even read the title in the Tweet?

If you’re promoting your own work, you already know that you have to think like an ad executive. Part of that isn’t just finding a way to break away from the pack to be noticed, it’s making sure that your efforts work as widely as possible. If you’re selling ebooks, you want to make sure that your efforts can be seen on any mobile device- they might be intrigued, read your pitch and click on the links you’ve provided to download your book right away. On the other hand, if you’ve muddled the pitch, it’s far more likely that they’ll just scroll by.

Have anything to say- agree, disagree? I love conversations.

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