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Visualised Evidence That Klout Makes No Sense

Social influence-ranking service Klout is an odd thing: it thinks Blackberry users are more important than Android Users. In truth, its rankings don’t intuitively seem to make much sense — and here’s some evidence that supports that statement.

Mark Graham from the Oxford Internet Institute decided to “map the service in order to see how the geography of online influence (according to Klout) might vary over space”. It’s a good idea because it may show that Klout makes some sense when considered at a global level. He describes how he went about the task:

Over the course of four consecutive days of polling for 30 seconds every 5 minutes from Twitter’s spritzer-level of access, we collected a total of 3,598,060 geotagged tweets via the random public timeline. These geotagged tweets were then bundled into their respective countries of origin, and the resulting set of country-bundled tweets were sampled randomly for up to 1000 users. The resulting sample of users were queried using Klout’s API.

He then plotted the average Klout score of each country, colour-coding the map so that darker blue corresponds to a higher score. Top of the tree? France, with an average score of 37.8. Filling second and third spot are the UK (34.9) and Sweden (34.8) respectively. The US limped in to take 10th place with a score of 33, while Australia sits even further down at 52nd position on the list.

Are you kidding me? Even Graham, an academic who spends his days studying digital trends across the world, is shocked, pointing out that the US “normally excels in all metrics of online visibility/power/reach”. It all points to the fact that either the folks behind Klout know something that the rest of us don’t, or their algorithm sucks. [Mark Graham]

Image: Mark Graham and Devin Gaffney


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