Over the past few weeks, I have been obsessed with Klout. No, not clout, but Klout - the Web-based measurement service that gauges just how influential a person really is in the social sphere of the 'Net.
My interest in Klout, by all accounts, had been mild up until now. But my score has gone through the virtual roof in recent weeks, fueling this obsession. That rise was not caused by my incredibly witty tweets, nor was it due to my numerous and strangely compelling Facebook updates. Neither was it because I've quickly managed to build an inordinate number of new connections through LinkedIn, Tumblr or Google+.
No, the real reason that my Klout has increased is a simple one. I actually - finally - connected my social accounts to the system. For several months or longer, I had lingered around a wildly depressing and uninspired Klout score of 12. Okay, it was actually 11 - but who's counting?
Knowing in my virtual heart of hearts that I was, in fact, more influential than that forced me to submit myself fully and completely to the Klout system, throwing my digital hat in the ring to see how I truly measured up. As you might imagine, connecting all your accounts - revealing all of your connections to the world - can do wonders in terms of boosting your credibility with Klout.
My number jumped to a far more respectable score of 56. And there was another benefit - a far more important one.
In the few weeks since my raging Klout obsession began, I have posted more frequently to Facebook (doing so at both peak and off times - hint, hint) and now I engage with the status updates of others more often, liking and, more importantly, commenting on what is shared by my friends and followers. Even though some of them, by the way, have ridiculously low Klout scores.
I have reintroduced myself to Twitter (although, I must admit, my hectic schedule is not always tweetfriendly), and now I make a genuine effort to retweet what I believe my own followers would find interesting or entertaining. I try to balance that with a few interesting highlights from my own life - both personal and professional, of course - along with my newfound commitment to using the platform as a way to complain or congratulate other people and companies for a job well done.
But that's not all. Google+, the social network I once thought was good only for shoring up search results positions, has also seen an influx of activity from me - as have both my LinkedIn and Tumblr profiles.
I have to admit, I've gained more from these networks than I ever thought possible in the form of new friendships as well as exposure to ideas and information. Needless to say, my increased participation has been well worth the investment of time. But I'm not done yet - not by a long shot.
As I have become more focused on engaging in activities that I likely should have been doing all along, my Klout score has slowly - very slowly, actually - inched upward. Who would have thought that by committing to more and deeper social connections you can develop and increase your Klout (and clout)?
Make no mistake; I know that true "reach" and "influence" is nearly impossible to measure. I have seen firsthand where those with incredibly high Klout scores in the 70- and 80-point range couldn't influence me to drink a glass of lemonade on a hot day. But for me, my Klout score is less about others and more about me - what I can become, what I want to become, what I will become.
I check my Klout score every morning - sometimes even before I get out of bed. It is now a constant reminder for me that what we are is not what we will become.
It requires a commitment to increase your Klout score as much as it does to improve you life. But in the end, the commitment is worth it. If only for the perks.
Digital marketing executive with proven experience in all aspects of search engine optimization (SEO), performance-based advertising, consumer-generated/social media, email marketing, lead generation, Web design, usability, and analytics. - 20-year Internet marketing veteran, currently serving as the Digital Marketing Campaign Manager at Antenna Group (formerly Chicago Digital). - Former Editor-In-Chief of Website Magazine, and a regular speaker on Web technology digital marketing strategy - Author of several books on digital marketing Including Web 360: The Fundamentals of Web Success; Affiliate 360: The Fundamentals of Performance Marketing; Domains 360: The Fundamentals of Buying & Selling Domain Names, and SEO 360: The Fundamentals of Search Engine Optimization.