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Klout Now Wants To Measure Your Real-World Influence

Klout updates the way it computes your score, which will bring your score in line with real-world influence versus social networking prowess

We've explained to you how to increase your Klout score here on PCWorld, but a new update to the service may have boosted (or dropped) your score without you doing a thing.

The service Tuesday added additional "signals" that Klout hopes will bring your score more in line with real-world influence versus your social networking prowess, and make the Klout score, in general, more relevant.

Klout has been criticized for the way it computes its scores. Regardless of your actual importance in the real world, you may have a high score just because you know how to play the system.

Tuesday's update attempts to change this. In addition to including additional actions on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and other networks already included, Klout now uses information from Wikipedia.

Out of the Virtual and Into the Real World

"Our long-term goal is to understand and analyze all the world's influence, both online and offline," writes Klout's Joe Fernandez. "We see a Wikipedia entry as a significant indicator of one's ability to drive action in the real world."

Indeed, the changes have had effects on the scores of some. For example, the addition of Wikipedia boosted Barack Obama's score from 94 to 99, but it had the opposite effect for Justin Bieber, dropping the teen idol's score from 100 to 92. Klout says the difference here is that Klout measures Obama's Wikipedia page as more important and influential than Bieber's.

While I have no Wikipedia page of my own, my Klout score jumped from 59 to 68 with this update. Using Klout's FAQ, which describes the changes to the scoring system, I am going to venture a guess that the new actions measured on Facebook and Twitter helped me out. Guess "real-world influence" isn't helping me just yet.

See What's Changing Your Klout Score (Soon)

There's another feature coming in "the next few weeks," and that's something Klout is calling "Moments." The goal is this: instead of guessing what content is influencing the most people, this feature will help you spot patterns and "help you shape your influence and improve the quality of your ideas."

I think this will probably make it easier for you to see how to increase your Klout score -- and perhaps play the system even better. At the same time, it adds some much needed transparency to a service many of us have, as yet, are not sure is needed..

For more tech news and commentary, follow Ed on Twitter at @edoswald, on Facebook, or on Google+.

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