Hawaii entrepreneur Rob Bertholf this weekend launched HawaiiKlout.com, a directory of “Hawaii’s Most Influencial.” (Presumably, “Influencial” is a portmanteau of “influence” and “influential,” and not a typo.) The site connects to an API provided by Klout, which purports to provide “the standard for influence” across social networking platforms.
To find Twitter users in Hawaii, Bertholf explains, the site indexes Twitter posts as fast as it can (a rate limited by Twitter to 150 scans per hour) and accepts user submissions as well. After non-Hawaii users turned up in the rankings, a “flagging” system was quickly implemented to remove bad results (like Justin Bieber).
Klout is one of many services attempting to provide metrics for the fast evolving social media industry. Others include PeerIndex and Twitalyzer. Bertholf says that he is working on integrating PeerIndex data into HawaiiKlout.com, but notes that he thinks Klout may be the dominant service.
Even so, Klout numbers have their quirks.
“Klout is unfortunately biased against frequency of tweets over quality and reach,” Bertholf notes. “The system isn’t perfect, it puts too much weight on outgoing mentions which can be spammy.”
Still, it’s a start. Noted Russ Sumida: “I think for lack of a metric, any metric is a good start. Eventually you get to know who you can trust and who you can’t. Just like in real life.”
“When [Melissa Chang] and I do any training for newbies to Twitter, we don’t point them to Klout. We tell them to look at the tweetstream,” Sumida went on to say. “That wasn’t a dig against Klout. We just want them to get to know what a bot looks like, to learn and not waste their time. For measurements, they can see their follower count. For our clients, we engage as the client, so they gain the followers/value.”
Of course, using a follower count as a metric also has its weaknesses. (Klout agrees, but of course they would.) For best results, you need to look at the whole picture, which is just as true in social media as it is in the real world.