Klout, the startup best known for its ability to measure a person’s online influence, announced the addition of new Topic Pages today.
In the past, Klout primarily focused on determining an individual’s influence through a 1-100 score by monitoring their activity on several social media services, such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Foursquare and a growing list of others. With Topic Pages, the company expands its influence measurement beyond the individual.
“Users are more than a single number, and Klout’s more than just a score, wrote Klout’s Chris Makarsky on the company’s blog.
Klout’s Topic Pages are sort of like Reddit’s subreddit community pages (sub-pages where people submit links and information about a single topic) that have been reverse engineered.
Users can navigate to Topic Pages through an individual’s profile. For instance, my page says I’m influential about Hulu, Comic-Con, Social Media and Nashville. Clicking any of those topics will bring me to the Klout Topic Page. The pages aim to provide more context about a particular topic by presenting activity from myself and other top influencers, regardless of a user’s overall Klout score. The company also plans to add further analytics, trends, and related content to the Topic Pages over the next few months.
“Topic Pages really changed the way I use Klout,” said Klout CEO Joe Fernandez in an interview with VentureBeat. My initial reaction mirror’s Fernandez’s comments as the service has a much more dynamic experience. “As we continue to roll out (Topic pages), people will be able to see the velocity of how a topic is spreading across social networks, the key people who are making it happen… things like that.”
The process of determining topics isn’t perfect. For example, another one (1 of 10) of the topics I’m influential about is “tardis” — the name of the time machine from the BBC sci-fi TV show Doctor Who. I’m guessing the term popped up in my list of influential topics because I do a weekly podcast called TARDIS blend that gets referenced often. I can’t imaging the information collected on the “tardis” Topic Page would provide much useful information. However, this is a new feature that’s in beta testing. It’s bound to have kinks to work out before a public launch.
“Most of the time I find that the topics on my profile are accurate, but there are usually one or two that are not right for a person,” Fernandez said, adding that users can manually remove topics that don’t make sense, and doing so will actually improve the way Klout topics are chosen.
For now, Klout is only opening the Topic Pages to users who opted into the feature addition — about 20,000 according to Fernandez — when it was offered on the Klout Perks program, which rewards top influencers with special deals based on their interests and Klout score rating.