As the race continues to find a reliable way of measuring influence in social networks and the “reputation graph,” Klout — one of the front-runners in that business, along with competitor PeerIndex — has launched an extension for Google’s Chrome browser that lets you see the Klout score of all the people you follow on Twitter when you go to the Twitter.com website. But is that a good thing? It certainly is if you like to keep score of how you stack up against your friends and followers — and plenty of people love to do just that, even if the score is based on something they don’t really understand. But at least for now, the Klout score is still somewhat of a blunt instrument, without enough knowledge about the people it is ranking to make it a must-have piece of the new reputation graph.
The company’s new Chrome extension, which came out of an internal hackathon, puts a big orange “K” symbol and a score right next to the name of the people in your stream on the Twitter website. You can achieve the same thing with other browsers as well, and if you use the Seesmic social-network platform you can also install an extension that adds the Klout rank to your Twitter stream. After I installed the Chrome extension, I caught myself — almost subconsciously — thinking as I watched the tweet-stream flow by: “Wow — he’s only a 61? I thought he would be more,” and “Holy cow, he’s a 72!” and so on. Human beings just love to keep score.
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