Kloutification of a Nation

Earlier this year, I wrote a blog post about how I earned $764.76 from a single Tweet.

Back when it happened, I got the same response from everyone who heard the story: “You got that positive result because you have so many followers.”

I didn’t think that much about it. I just thought the company on the other side – Bank of America – was doing the smart and logical thing when it came to monitoring Social Media and protecting its corporate image.

Now, let’s fast forward almost exactly six months.

Kloutification: Underway

A few days ago, I stumbled across a blog post that said this:

Klout is a measure of one’s online influence measured by Twitter and Facebook interaction. Some companies (like Starbucks or Virgin America) have begun to use Klout to determine who should or shouldn’t be getting special perks at their establishment (like a room upgrade a hotel for instance). Today Disney has entered the fray with a deal combining Walt Disney Animation Studios next feature film Tangled with Klout to provide perks for those with the most influence.

Do you see what’s happening here?


Social Media is starting to matter.

In tangible, street level, impact-you-financially kinds of ways.

Sure, getting a free Venti Bold, a better hotel room or an upgrade on Richard Branson’s airline may not seem like much, but this – I assure you – is just the tip of the iceberg.

Maybe more companies will start monitoring Social Media “analytics” sites like Klout.  And Twitter Grader.  And Twellow.  And Twitter’s own new analytic service, announced just a few days ago.

Shift: In Process

Disney’s announcement was yet another micro-step forward in terms of Social Media becoming that “greatest shift since the Industrial Evolution” that so many believe is well underway.

What happens when this trend reaches critical mass?

Can you imagine if EVERY product or service you purchase starts being priced up or down depending on your “Social Influence?”

This is about to get interesting.

Let the non-believers continue not to believe.

In the meantime, I’ll be chilling up in my deluxe suite, pounding another Starbucks and watching a free movie…

Trackbacks Comments
  • Nice post, it’s pretty amazing how things keep unfolding. I’m glad I started back then and I’m reminded of the quote. “Q: When’s the best time to plant a tree? A: 20 years ago. Q: When’s the second best time? A: Today. Cheers.
    Ken Brand´s last [type] ..The Woodlands TX – Holiday Events – Lighting Of The Doves- iWOW- The Woodlands Ice Rink and The Winter Wonderland

    • Michael McClure


      You’ve hit the nail right on the head. I am SO glad that I dove in deep once I finally gave Social Media an honest try. Irrespective of the “hard ROI” that I could document to someone (which is actually quite a lot), I just KNOW where this is all going. What Disney and Virgin and Starbucks are doing just is good, common sense business. And it’s only going to intensify more in the future.

      Thanks for the comment, my friend!


  • Any prediction about when this “critical mass” might be reached? 1year, 5 years, 20?

    • Michael McClure


      This is ridiculously subjective and speculative on my part, but from watching the “Social Media Revolution” video and my intuitive sense of all of this stuff, I’d say two to three years.

      When you look at how far we’ve traveled in just the last two years, and then consider the pace of change and progress which just keeps speeding up, I could see this stuff – like I’ve written about in this post, where pricing or perks depend upon the individual – becoming common within the next 12 months.

      Like I said, just a guess!


  • My belief is the “critical mass” will come sooner and more unexpected than anyone guesses. Kinda like a bullet train speeding towards us through a dark tunnel….

    Week to week I am seeing significant changes.

  • The whole idea of online influence is a very interesting one with some implications that we have not yet fully seen.
    You raise an interesting point in here about if people with online “klout” will get different prices than those who aren’t rated as high. I think that this would be a weird way to use these influence ratings. Is that fair that people who use social media more than others should get better deals than those who don’t?
    However, if they use it to help get influencers on their side to promote, that’s a different story. I was one of those people that got a flight through Virgin and Klout this summer.When Virgin did this they did it in hopes that online influencers would talk about their flight (and hopefully say good things). That was used more as a promotion tool and getting people on their side to hopefully help promote them. This is much different than giving a discount to someone just because they use social media more than someone else.
    I think that connecting the right influencers with the right brands is a great strategy, but altering full sales channels just because someone has “klout” makes it seem unfair to those as don’t. Even as one of those people with “klout” I feel this way.
    It will be interesting to see how people start to look at and use this idea of online influence in the next year or so.

    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos
    40deuce´s last [type] ..Six Tips to Hiring a Social Media Consultant

  • I appreciate what Klout is trying to do. I think, however, that their algorithm needs work. They measure FAR too often (if you’re truly influential, that’s not gonna change from day to day), and the things by which they measure, I think, are flawed (Morgan Brown wrote a post about this the other day that I think you would like). The notion that my influence is greater than Amber Naslund’s is patently ludicrous, and yet, by Klout’s standards, it is. All of these things that measure influence, from Klout and on down to experiments like the AdAge “How Influential Are You?” thing from a few months back, are dicey. What’s influential to one mightn’t be to another. An algorithm can’t track that. And brands might be paying their tithe to the wrong people, as a result. I have nothing against Klout, not really. I think what they’re doing is interesting. That said, they have a LONG way to go.

    As an aside to all of this? The thing that REALLY irks me about Klout is people telling everyone else what their Klout score is. If YOU care about it, super. But no one ELSE cares; it’s like saying, “My credit score is XXX! Be jealous!”

  • Hey Mike, Good Morning
    For all of those bashing the Klout Scores for all sorts of reasons, some valid, some not so much, it is at least some type of starting measurement of reach. I have thought for some time that as business folks wake up to the whole theory of Social Media, and the fact that traditional advertising costs are rising and results are declining, they will look to Buy a Block of Social Media, which as we know it doesn’t come in blocks, it comes one slow and steady drip at a time.
    Eric Brown´s last [type] ..Entertain the Customer and Boost Web Visits

  • I think the biggest shift since the industrial revolution started w/ the internet and is amplified by social media. Technology and the measurement of technological “achievement” is something that we’re just now starting to explore. Renowned bloggers are becoming just as influential as any daily news sources.

    Props to @klout for making it easier to track the reach of an individual. It gives us a chance to adjust our interaction to be more/less informative more/less conversational.. etc, based on the goals of the organization or individual.

    But hey, I’m still a little bitter ’cause my klout score isn’t that high ;)

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