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Should Lawyers Care About Klout Scores?

By Gwynne Monahan

Attorney at Work has been after me for a post about Klout. Try as I might, the drafts are snarky. I simply can’t get past my mantra: Until my Klout score replaces my credit score, I pay it little attention.

I say “little attention” because rarely a day goes by when I don’t see a tweet along the the lines of “I just gave so-and-so +K in fill-in-the-blank” or “I just received +K for fill-in-the-blank.” As if on autopilot, I click on my profile in HootSuite so my eyes can take in my current Klout score. At one point, I experimented and added my LinkedIn profile and Google+ profile. My score went up.

Fascinating. For all of 30 seconds. Still hasn’t replaced my credit score, thus requires little attention.

Oh. Wait. Perhaps I should backup for a second and explain Klout so you can better judge its uselessness … er … usefulness …er … draw your own conclusions.

In a nutshell, Klout “believes everyone has influence” so its goal is to “help you understand and leverage that influence.” To arrive at a number, or score, that accurately reflects your “sphere of influence” Klout uses a secret algorithmic sauce that makes any Google Dance (the changing of its algorithm and subsequently shuffling of search engine results that tends to upset webmasters and SEO specialists) look like child’s play.

So when this piece, “What Your Klout Score Really Means,” from Wired’s tech blog, came across my Facebook feed, I clicked through with mindless curiosity. What does my Klout score really mean? My inquiring mind wanted to know.

More than I knew, apparently. From the Wired article:

Matt Thomson, Klout’s VP of platform, says that a number of major companies—airlines, big-box retailers, hospitality brands—are discussing how best to use Klout scores. Soon, he predicts, people with formidable Klout will board planes earlier, get free access to VIP airport lounges, stay in better hotel rooms, and receive deep discounts from retail stores and flash-sale outlets. ‘We say to brands that these are the people they should pay attention to most,’ Thomson says. ‘How they want to do it is up to them.’

In other words, Klout is creating another class system. Or, perhaps a little less bluntly, another online competition that impacts your offline life. This was hammered home with the example of hotels checking the Klout scores of guests, unknown to the guests, and giving those with high scores free upgrades. Nice perk. Will it also give me a discount on a home loan? Car insurance? I thought not.

Klout, then, is not for everyone, which significantly reduces its chance of replacing credit scores. Which, of course, begs the question: Should lawyers care?

Answer: Maybe.

As the first part of the Wired article demonstrated, checking Klout scores isn’t out of the ordinary. And if your clientele is the kind who makes decisions based on things like social media interaction and Klout scores, then it might very well be worth your while to invest some time and energy into increasing or maintaining a high Klout score.

That is, of course, if you want to take on a client who only picked you because you have a certain Klout score.

This Forbes article is more to the point: You shouldn’t care about your Klout score.

Gwynne Monahan is best known by her Twitter handle @econwriter5. She has written several articles on open source applications for lawyers and legal professionals, and has presented on open source as well as issues surrounding social media. She is currently Community Manager for Clio and is spearheading Small Firm Innovation.

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Categories: Daily Dispatch, Lawyer Social Media
Originally published May 14, 2012
Last updated May 11, 2020
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Gwynne Monahan

Gwynne Monahan is a freelance writer and editor who follows the mantra: Write Well. Edit Better. Best known by her Twitter handle @econwriter5Gwynne follows consumer trends in technology, and how they may impact the practice of law. She helps connect the dots so lawyers can more effectively, and efficiently run their practices. Quick with a book suggestion, witty comment or a laugh, Gwynne also enjoys baseball, jazz, foods she couldn’t get in Canada (you’ll have to ask her) and the sound of the “L.” She earned her M.Sc., with honors, in IT and Privacy Law from The John Marshall Law School.

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