Biebs, move over for Obama: Klout score changes bring new users to the top

If you’re the kind of person who knows exactly how many Twitter followers you have at a given moment or competes to gather as many friends as you can on Facebook, get ready for a change to your main scoreboard: Klout is getting a makeover, and your ranking may vary.

The controversial metric of one’s supposed internet influence will see major changes to how it calculates your score, the San Francisco-based company will announce Tuesday. The new calculation, which will raise many people’s scores, takes into account more social graphs and is intended to be more reflective of your true internet influence, said Klout CEO Joe Fernandez in an interview. The update will also include major changes to Klout’s site, which will now show your most popular posts and social media activity and give users more feedback into how particular posts or “moments” influence scores.

“We’re trying to go away from Klout analyzing you to showing how important and interesting you are,” Fernandez said.

The company said it currently has “millions” of registered users, but refused to provide any specifics on either registered users or daily active users.

Back in June, Fernandez told GigaOM’s Ki Mae Huessner that the new updates are intended to be a thoughtful roll out that all users will understand and appreciate.

“We want to make sure that we’re rolling this out in way that we’re providing the information needed for people to understand their Klout scores,” he said. “We want to get it right.”

Whether or not you believe Klout represents your internet influence is of course a personal matter, but if you do, the changes are significant. The company showed me how my own score will rise five points under the new system from 57 to 63, Om Malik’s would rise from 65 to 80, and Barack Obama will move into Klout first place with a score of 99, up from 95. The previously highest-Klouted? Sorry Beliebers, but Justin Bieber is dropping from 100 to 92.

Mathew Ingram has written for GigaOM on whether you should care at all about your Klout score, noting that there’s a lot of money involved in trying to measure online influence, whether or not the Klout is the best way to do it:

The days when people get compensated based on their Klout score or some other ranking of social activity — as Salesforce CEOMarc Benioff discussed at a GigaOM conference last year — may be far off, but there is a multibillion-dollar advertising and marketing machine that is trying to figure out how to measure online influence, and Klout is a major player in that race. Whether it can become the default measurement platform remains to be seen, but this isn’t a race that is going to end any time soon.

But the changes Fernandez is bringing to the new Klout algorithm confronts much of the criticism users lodged at the company at the last update, when most people’s scores went down. The update will take into account information from LinkedIn and Wikipedia, so if you don’t tweet that often but hold a prestigious job at a large company, for instance, your score will better reflect your likely real-world influence. Similarly, if you have Wikipedia pages written about you, that will reflect on your score. Plus, users will be able to see how individual activities affect their scores, addressing some of the transparency issues people raised at the last update.

“There is increased accuracy and transparency in the algorithm now,” Fernandez said, noting that the company is now looking at more than 12 billion pieces of data per day, compared to 1 billion per day about a year ago.

The new scores will be available to users online beginning Tuesday, and the new website and profiles will roll out over the next few weeks. Fernandez said he thinks the updates are a natural progression for the company.

“If we didn’t evolve, that would be a problem,” he said. “If you think about every month there’s a new social network and behaviors change, the score has to grow. And if we didn’t do that we just wouldn’t be doing what we do best.”