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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Klout's not what it's all about

Image representing Klout as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBaseA recent list from Education Next of "Most Influential Twitterers" listed me at the top of the list of Educator Tweeters based on Klout scores. I've written about Klout before on this blog in my 7 golden rules of Tweeting and am wary of anything that tries to compartmentalize "influencers" on Twitter.

I can say this because it isn't sour grapes. I have a higher Klout score than anyone on the list - at least today - or until someone figures out a major person left off the list - and there are many. ( @rmbyrne and @angelamaiers are just two I can think of off hand. You'll think of tons more as well.)

Klout and Influence ARE NOT the same thing.
I'm sorry but Arne Duncan is the Secretary of Education here in the United States - anyone in their right mind who could think that Vicki Davis, coolcatteacher, has more influence than he does doesn't see the big picture.

The big picture is that online influence is just a part of the picture.

Social media is one thing, it isn't the only thing.

I also think that raw follower count means something.I know that Klout tries to account for inactive accounts and retweets and whether a tweeter actually ENGAGES with those who talk to them, but many of the people with lower klout scores do not have social media as their top function. I'd rather those people work on their day job than care about their Klout count. They may be followed by a lot of inactive accounts. They may have other people tweeting for them altogether. It just isn't the same.

There are also many more spaces than Twitter. Kevin Honeycutt, for example is "Mr. Plurk" and sort of leads a very tight network of educators who plurk. Don't underestimate the influence of such an incredibly smart, talented, and good man. (Yes, I'm a fan.) Will Richardson leads the powerful PLP movement and speaks at tons of conferences - his influence extends to his books and he has been blogging for 10 years for goodness sakes (and interestingly, is moving his blog to Tumblr.) Angela Maiers has over 20,000 followers and a klout of 71 and she's not even on the list? Kathy Schrock has over 10,000 followers and has created some of the most useful tools in education - but she has a klout of 51 and so she's not on the list. I just don't buy the list. It is just a list. It isn't the definitive end all be all.

Do we get mad?
Oh, lots of people are going to get angry and bent out about who has the most influence. OK, I'm not fighting that one. Klout is just one measure of how engaging you Tweet and how likely you are to be retweeted - it is not the same as influence.

I think that discussions about who is the "biggest dawg on the hill" are  total waste of time. Keep it in perspective.

The Loudest Talker is often the One Who Cries on the Bench During the Game
I see it all the time in the classroom - boys posturing and talking about who is the biggest and baddest - but we all know when Friday night comes and one boy pushes through the pain to get the TD and the other one sits crying on the bench that all that posturing means nothing. One thing I know - the loudest bragger is usually the one who ends up crying on the bench.

Be part of the conversation
The bottom line is that your followers give you klout (as well as who you follow.) And do we really care about Klout at all? Someone will. Some people will. If it is important someone will create a metric. Metrics are flawed.

I'm thankful and grateful for my 75 klout score. (It may drop tomorrow!) I am appreciative to those of you who are kind and converse and teach me online. You are the best. That is reward enough.

Don't waste your time debating this. If you want to debate - debate the Klout score itself.

The kind of clout that counts
Pitting good people on that list against each other doesn't do good. We need bridges not walls. The fact is - whatever my klout score is today, if I died today it would go down to zero soon enough. But if I say something here that lets you go love a student a little more, help them find their interest, help another student go to college, build bridges of collaboration like we talk about in the upcoming Flat Classroom book, then that is something far more permanent and that is the only clout I really care about.

Keep the main thing the main thing. I'll let the debaters fuss over this one, but I've got lots to do.

For now, don't stress about your klout. Don't be upset about being left off. Do a good job. Be helpful. Be respectful. Be honest. Every person is important.

Put your tweet in, put your tweet out, put your thoughts in and shake them all about -- do the okey dokey and turn yourself about - cause klout's not what it's all about.

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