Home' Campus Technology : December 2012 Contents COLLABORATION
CAMPUS TECHNOLOGY | December 2012
WHILE SOCIAL MEDIA are commonly used to enhance col-
laboration in the classroom, there's another good reason for fac-
ulty and students to embrace the technology: Fluency in social
media makes students more marketable in the workplace.
Last year, Todd Bacile (@toddbacile), an instructor of elec-
tronic marketing in the College of Business at Florida State
University, developed a classroom assignment that challenges
students to increase their own personal "Klout score." (A Klout
score is a single number that measures social media "influence,"
based on aggregated data about a user's social media activity.)
We asked Bacile about the project.
CT: What sparked the idea to use Klout scores in a class
Bacile: A manager of a social media marketing agency told me
his firm uses Klout during the job-application screening process.
The very first thing he and his recruiters do is look at students'
Klout scores and their LinkedIn profiles. Any student who does
not have a complete LinkedIn profile and a Klout score above 35
is removed from further consideration. This is when I decided I
should teach students about social media influence metrics.
CT: Do the students' Klout scores give an indication of
their ability to effectively communicate using social media
tools---or just how active they are on social media sites?
Bacile: Klout doesn't merely look at how often or how much
content is created---it looks at that to a degree. However, the
algorithm attempts to determine the level of engagement and
conversation a person generates. A person will have a lower
score if a lot of content is created via social media yet nobody is
responding to or sharing that content. In contrast, a person will
have a higher score if he creates content that others like, reply
to, and re-share to their own networks.
CT: Were the students open to being graded on this
Bacile: Yes. They were excited to learn about something that
seemed so emergent and relevant in the real workforce. Also, this
was only 10 percent of their overall course grade. But, just to be
fair, I gave students the option to opt out of the project and write
a paper instead. Only two students out of more than 100 have
opted out, not because they dislike Klout or being graded on it,
but due to their lack of interest in social media in general.
CT: What's the best way to raise a Klout score?
Bacile: The key to improving influence in this context is to create
content other people want to act upon. Having more followers,
friends, and connections helps, but only if these people respond
to content. A large following with little to no engagement will
cause a Klout score to decrease (drastically, in some cases).
A few tips: Create interesting content that is unique and help-
ful; always try to respond to those who engage with you; be
helpful and answer questions; ask questions of others; and try
to identify opinion leaders within a topic area you would like to
discuss, then engage with those leaders. It's very important to
follow commonly accepted etiquette on the different social me-
dia sites. Doing these things will improve one's engagement and
also grow a following of authentic people who are interested in
the content being created.
CT: Were most students successful at raising their Klout
scores? Did you get a sense they found the project
Bacile: The average Klout scores at the beginning of the project
were in the range of 15 to 20. By the end, the average scores
were in the range of 40 to 45. When these classes participated
in this project, the average Klout score for all social media users
was about 20. So an increase to 40 or higher was really excit-
ing. Based on feedback, I believe the majority of the students
really enjoyed the project because they were learning how to
engage with others using strategies they may have not used
before. Plus, they were gaining experience with a newer metric
used in marketing and in the hiring process by some companies.
One of my students specifically told me a recruiter asked him
about his Klout score.
SPHERES OF INFLUENCE
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