Dear Klout, I think we need to see other people.

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Dear Klout,
I used to love you.
You told me I was important, and that people cared about what I had to say… you sent me gifts that cared for my hygiene and my ability to write on a variety of surfaces.
But now, and for the last few months, things just haven't been the same.
You stopped telling me I was important. You told me that I wasn't communicating enough, and as a result, no one listens to me anymore.
I'm not influential enough about anything to keep your interest.
I've tried to make you happy; I wrote you poems, sent nicely worded emails, but they all go ignored; you are not interested in my petty concerns, and are so busy telling everyone how socially engaged you are that you can't hear me, or you just don't care.
And I've started hearing that there are other fish in the sea, other fish with equally adorable names, ones that based on words that start with C but have a K instead.
And so, I'll leave you alone now, Klout.
I'm moving on.
If you can't be interested enough in me to reply to my emails, I think we need to break up.
Take care,
Lizz

PS: If you need me, I'll be hanging out on Twitter, just where I always am. And you have my email address, so you can always get in touch when you're ready to chat.

But seriously.

Klout claims to be “The Standard for Influence,” and their very own website says: “You have Klout in the topics you care about. Klout finds influencers in everything from barbecue to tech gadgets to gardening. Uncover your influence and find people who share your interests.”

This all sounds fine and dandy, but here's the thing. As I write this, I have a Klout score of 71. I have 1,275 Twitter followers and 641 Facebook friends. TweetDeck on my phone tells me I average 27 Tweets a day, and I had, just last week, a single tweet get RT'd over 150 times. Hell, I was trending in CANADA!

In June, when my score was in the mid-50s, I noticed that my “Influential Topics” had disappeared. Where I had previously been influential in about a dozen things, including Moms, Blogging, Photography, Wine and Kidneys, I had a message of “We don't have any topics for this influencer right now.”

OK, weird, but nothing to worry about, right? I mentioned it in passing on Twitter, and a couple other people mentioned that they also had no topics, but that they all reappeared eventually. So I shrugged it off, for a while.

On July 19, I finally decided to try and get the problem figured out, since it was rapidly approaching a month that I hadn't had any topics. Using their contact@klout.com email address, I sent this:

Hi all!
It's been almost 3 weeks since I've had any influential topics, and with BlogHer coming up in a couple of weeks, I'm starting to worry that my lack of topics could harm my business if a potential sponsor wants to see my influence.
Can you please take a look into this and let me know if I need to do something?
Thanks so much!
~Lizz

And I quickly got this template back:

Hey there, Thanks for emailing Klout! We love getting feedback and are here to help out but just want to check if you'd seen support.klout.com as we may have already answered your question.
If it's not there, just reply again to this email and we'll do our best to answer in a timely fashion.
For media requests — email press@klout.com
For partnerships requests — email partners@klout.com
Otherwise, reply to this email and we'll get back to you as soon as we can. Thanks again!

So I replied, again:

I'm still worried that I don't have any influential topics! I don't know if I need to restate my concern with this reply or not, but just in case:
It's been almost 3 weeks that I haven't had any influential topics, and with BlogHer fast approaching, I'd really like some topics, in case a potential sponsor checks my score and topics!
Thanks!
~Lizz

And then, a few days after I sent that reply, I got this email back from “Cliff”

Hey,

Klout finds your most influential topics based on the content you post that gets the most engagement. We then analyze that content to understand the topic it relates to.

Talking about one topic a lot doesn't mean it'll become one of your topics, you also have to have people respond and share that content. As we gather more information about your influence, your topics should populate. They update once weekly so you can continue to check back. Thanks!

Kind Regards,

Cliff

Thanks for nothing, Cliff! I have people responding to and sharing my content; I'm participating in Twitter parties regularly, all of which are based entirely on interacting with people. I waited a week, and still no replies.

This is where I started getting really annoyed and launched a one-woman Twitter campaign to get them to talk to me. I wrote haikus, and funny analogies, offered to bring them cookies, and suggested topics that would be good ones for me to have influence in. Someone eventually put me in touch with Megan Berry, a Marketing person of some sort at Klout. After a handful to tweets to both her AND Klout, I was able to chat directly with her, where she essentially said again what Cliff's email had said, that their fancy algorithm would find my topics and populate eventually; I just had to “engage more”

The tweeting continued, and I heard stories from other people; they were influential in things they had never mentioned, or not influential in things about which they're generally accepted to be experts or at least knowledgeable… the #WTFKlout hashtag was born, and still I had no topics.

Life got busy, and while I mentioned it on Twitter from time to time, it wasn't until recently that I was cleaning out my email inbox that I realized I'd never heard from Cliff again, so I tried the politely-worded email approach:

Hi Cliff!
I'm writing to you in the hopes that I'll get some resolution to my lack of topics. It's starting to get very frustrating, and I'm feeling like, for a company that is all about social media engagement, you aren't doing much of it yourself.
I have sent, I would estimate, 100 tweets to @klout about my lack of topics, and have yet to get a single tweet back.
I chatted briefly with Megan Berry, and she basically said that my lack of topics is correct before she stopped replying to my tweets.
So I hope you can see where I'm coming from.
I understand how it's *supposed* to work, I just don't think it's working correctly for my account. I am actively interacting on Twitter, every single day. I put stuff out there, I get replies and RTs. I participate in Twitter parties and chats, and talk to my regular group of friends for hours on end every day.
According to Tweetdeck on my phone, I average 26 tweets a day, and those are conversations with people; it's not like I'm spamming with useless crap that people are ignoring.
I'm just stumped how someone who doesn't even *have* a Klout account can have topics, and I don't. I've never received a Klout perk of my own, and have only been able to get them when my friends share them… I have to believe part of that is based on my lack of topics.
I've been filling out network applications lately, and more than a few have asked for my Klout score. While it's OK, I'm concerned that if a company (Collective Bias or whoever) goes to review my Klout, they won't see any topics for me and will move on.
All I'm asking is for someone to take a specific look at my profile and see what's going on. Friends have told me they're influential in things they have LITERALLY never talked about, so I'm just not seeing why I don't have anything.
Just in case it's an issue; I recently changed my Twitter handle. I used to be @libismorgan, but now go by @CanBeaFunnyGirl
Here's my Klout profile page, just to make it easier for you. http://klout.com/#/canbeafunnygirl
I really appreciate you looking into this for me, and am anxiously awaiting your reply!
~Lizz

I sent that email on Sept. 24, and have yet to hear back from them. I'd contemplating sending them mail, like postcards with stamps and stuff, but I don't want to waste my money. And honestly, posting here will probably get more attention anyway!

So, what do you think about Klout? Do you keep track of your score? Have crazy topics that don't make sense? Please share this post… they've got to pay attention at some point, right?

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41 Comments

  1. I have my doubts about Klout. I emailed them the other day. No reply.

    It tells me I am influencial about the Minnesota Twins.
    I live in South Carolina.
    I have never tweeted about baseball.
    I have human twins.

    Whatever!
    (I follow you and that’s how I found your post:)

  2. So strange. You should be at least influential about bacon. Something is wrong with their algorithm! I saw that tweet retweeted on my other twitter account with seperate friends from the one I follow you on. I was amazed!

  3. I was influential in Avocado. Oreo. Sales.
    I divorced Klout about a month ago. Not missing it one bit. I actually asked them to delete my account and they did after about a week and a half.
    I’m surprised at the lack of customer service from them – literally anybody company I’ve tweeted with a problem is ON IT in five minutes.

  4. My influential topics include some that are real (scrapbooking, crafting, parenting, etc.) and some terribly wrong ones like “cats” “Bambi” and “doughnuts.” I freaking HATE cats, I tweeted about Bambi twice months ago, and I’ve only tweeted once about doughnuts in the past year (in an Instagram photo I sent to Twitter).

    I think that Klout’s system of scoring is completely out of whack, too. I once dropped four points in two days, and then it took me over two weeks to gain them back. I mean, I tweet A LOT. Like, multiple times per hour per day. And I converse with people, I don’t just always spew random thoughts, so I’m not sure why my pointed dropped so quickly and then took SO long to regain.

  5. Klout who? They have no klout with me, I’ve never heard of them till today, will check it out though….I’d probably be influencial on housewives and new jersey! Ha!

  6. OH! OH! Another thing that KILLS me is when Klout sends me an email saying I’m eligible for a specific perk (most recent a Subway one) and I need to go claim it, but then I get to the perks page just to be told I’m not eligible for that specific perk. WTF?! This happens all the damn time.

  7. I joined because of you and I don’t get it and think it’s pointless. I have a fairly high score (59) and have never been influential about anything although I’m pretty sure I fall into several categories (cooking, photography, children). I’m suprised people ask for a Klout score. I don’t see them being around very long.

  8. Wow, I’m not sure what to say. I was unconvinced that Klout was worth anything until I got a free bottle of wine. Now, I’m a little more understanding. ;P

    That really ticks me off that they can’t seem to get your stuff worked out though. It must be beyond even them. Not cool.

  9. I agree with the this post! Be glad you lost topics from them. I gained influence over dogs and beer…really, klout? I don’t even drink beer — EVER! I will be breaking up with them shortly as well…

  10. I think Klout was a good concept. But badly executed from the get go. I predict it will fail. I’m pretty much done with it.

  11. I just tweeted about this the other day! I continue to drop points, but I’m not sure why. I’m only listed as being knowledgeable on 5 topics and they’re fairly accurate, but I tweet all the time about special needs, using that hashtag, and that’s not on the list. I also tweet a lot about Marfan syndrome (helloooo….that’s even a part of my twitter handle) and that’s not on the list either. But, blogging is, and women’s health…?

  12. I think Klout is a bit of a racket. They TELL us their important so that we’ll TREAT them like they’re important so that THEY get famous. Meanwhile….what? You don’t have any topics and I’m influential about *photography*? I don’t even have a real camera! I’m so glad you wrote this. If we all just stop paying attention to them, maybe they’ll get their act together.

  13. According to Klout, I am influential in beauty. I’ve never posted a single thing about beauty and safari. I had a friend who went to Africa and we had a brief conversation – like, 2 tweets – about it.

    I think they may want to tweak their algorithm.

  14. Klout is ridiculous. At one point, all of my individual scores went up but my overall Klout went down. Their “algorithm” lacks basic math skills.

    I check it every once in a while to get an idea of how/where I seem to be interacting the most but I wouldn’t care if Klout disappeared overnight.

  15. I’m influential in skinny jeans. SKINNY JEANS. I’ve never once…not ONE TIME…discussed skinny jeans on Twitter, yet I’ve been influential in them since I first signed up for Klout.

    So yeah. i hear ya.

  16. That must be infuriating. I think my topics are fairly accurate (except for “army” which I removed). I think the whole thing is a bit odd though. And it’s SO weird that you have no topics – still! – and can’t get a response from them. Annoying.

  17. You already know what I think. I avoided it for a long time but then decided I like free deodorant and wine – when it lets me get them. Rare. But sometimes.

    I had two topics, or maybe one, for months on end. Suddenly I got an influx of them, and then they took about 2-3 away. Leaving me with Diamonds, when I posted a book review for Loose Diamonds, and tweeted twice about it. Seriously? Unless you’re giving me jewels, get that outta there!

    I don’t appreciate the disrespect they are giving you and am sad you still have no resolution. AT this point it’s the principle, IMO.

    Bah humbug on them!

  18. Klout lies. You know how I know this? Because they say I have influence. I’m just in it for the free shiz. If/when you go to Kred – I’m totally interested in knowing how much influence I really DON’T have.

  19. I’d like to pretty much ditto Dana’s response. I’m interested in Kred. i think Klout has some working out to do, and i get that they are a “small company” (as i’ve seen megan tweet back to you) – but hello? you’re a social media company – small or not, you might wanna get someone on that problem to at least RESPOND with some suggestions beyond the ridiculously obvious. I like your breakup letter.

  20. I agree with everyone who commented before me! I just joined Klout last week (I know, I’m behind, sue me.), and was told that I have influence in the topic “Oregon.” Oregon. I live in New Orleans. I’m from Mississippi. I’ve never been west of Texas. I don’t give a rats….ahem….about Oregon. And I don’t remember ever tweeting about it! Go figure. I’m thoroughly confused by Klout; and apparently I can’t have a busy weekend without dropping 2 points. Ugh.

  21. I really don’t understand how Klout comes up with some of the things they do. Most of my topics are accurate but I do get strange ones every now & then. I don’t umdrstand howmtheyncan say you have no topics! I mean really?! And its so uncool’of them not to respond! I’ve never heard of Kred so I am going to have to look that up!

  22. Agreed!! It gets too confusing and too frustrating!!!
    I have influence in the emmy awards, in moms (I don’t have a kid), in photography (the most I do is take pics on my phone!) I dont get it??

  23. OMG I love that you emailed k-lout (you have auto correct on your comments! OMG I love that, too! But I can’t write the k-word because of it!)!

    Also? So not messing with *you!* πŸ™‚

  24. I have been wondering this since the beginning of Klout and every time I go back to try and give you some – how do you have a score of 71 but NO topics? I don’t get why they won’t respond to your tweets and countless emails..maybe someone needs a throat punch?

  25. I don’t understand how business easily dismiss the people that use their product. I occasionally look at it, but honestly don’t get it enough to pay too much attention.

  26. I’m really skeptical about Klout myself, and your post has made me even more skeptical. If someone as engaged as you has no topics. That makes absolutely no sense. Coupled with that is the fact that I have the weirdest topics in the world…I just don’t get it I guess. And what lousy customer service! I mean, their answer is just to ignore you. Not cool!

  27. I have not gotten into the Klout stuff yet. I have gotten a tweet that I’ve been given a +1 for humor! Yay! But, I have not dived into another obsession….yet.

  28. Well, I know I’ve gone to give you some +K love about a dozen times, but keep finding your topics empty. At least your klout score is staying up there, even though their algorhythm seems to skip you on topics. And you’re right, this post will get seen. :>

  29. I’ve never looked mine up because I feel like it’s just a bunch of baloney to obsess about. Hilarious post though πŸ™‚

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