Klout is necessary

Klout is in the news. The Wall Street Journal piece on Klout surely made the rounds. Klout is praised and bashed, loathed and admired. Whether good or bad, Klout is necessary.

Klout’s founder, Joe Fernadez, is both a genius and a gentleman. He recognized a need in the marketplace and has been working aggressively to satisfy that need. The business press is taking note and is given him and his company earned recognition (and venture capitalists are giving him/them the big bucks to back it up). I got to spend some one-on-one time with Joe in Indianapolis during ExactTarget’s conference last year and found him to be a delightful dinner companion and a deep thinker. I like and admire him a lot.

Here’s why Klout is necessary:

  1. Too much confusion: Many companies really do want to “do social media right.” They know much is happening in social space and they want to be there and be good citizens there. At the moment, there’s so much happening that it’s hard to know where to start. As Annette Simmons says, “We don’t need more information. We just need someone to make sense of it all.” Klout strives to help companies make sense of it all.
  2. Too many voices: There are nearly unlimited voices shouting into a space where companies have limited resources. While companies, no doubt, would love to hear and understand every voice, there aren’t enough ears on the planet to hear everyone. Klout strives to help companies focus those limited resources on the louder voices.
  3. Too much complexity: Social media is far from simple or settled. Social media giants rise up and wither away (Friendster, MySpace. Hey, is Plurk still around? What’s the name of those public group instant messages services before Twitter? Was it Jenga, Jaiku, or something?). Who knows what “the standard” or what “the rules” will eventually be? In the meantime, Klout gives companies something they are immensely comfortable with, readily understand, and can quickly use for decision-making—a two digit number. Companies need that (though I pray they go further, invest more into listening and understanding, are are never content with just a number).

Klout is necessary and Joe Fernandez is a genius. He is focused. He has said it often enough that the saying and repetition of it are making it a de facto reality: Klout is the standard of influence. Just ask Justin.

Trey Pennington

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