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What Klout scores and SAT scores have in common

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Image of a standardized test

timlewisnm / Flickr

I woke up Thursday morning to my Twitter followers freaking out over Klout’s new algorithm. I only had one reaction at the time: If we’re talking about a scoring system, I need consistency.

The more I thought about it, though, the more I thought that it’s not consistency I need so much as it is something more than just Klout.

A Klout score is like an SAT score — it’s a tidy number that gives a 30,000-foot view of someone’s aptitude, but as a representation of that person’s true aptitude, it’s sorely lacking. A college dean of admissions might sweep any application with an SAT score below 1100 off his desk as a means of practical filtration, but that doesn’t mean every app left lying on the floor represents a bad student and it certainly doesn’t mean that the kid who just happens to test well is getting admitted.

I’ve used Klout off and on and I’ve found it alternately useful and pointless. The trick for social media managers is to use it as needed.

The people who live and die by their Klout scores aren’t any different than kids who work themselves up about the SATs. Those little numbers usually only matter that much for a few fleeting moments. So work on them, but don’t kill yourself doing so, and don’t forget about the stuff that will matter the other 99 percent of the time.

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