Wired magazine’s story on Klout.com from earlier this week set off a minor rage-splosion in the social media marketing sphere, thanks mostly to the revelation that some companies are using job applicants’ Klout scores as an under-the-radar screening method (also, casinos are using it to decide who gets the coolest freebies, on the assumption that Players with high scores will use their SM influence to send more business the casino’s way).

For those 95% of you who have a life, Klout.com is a service that supposedly ranks your online influence from 1 to 100 based on your social media engagement using Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Foursquare, etc.

Let’s get one thing out of the way right now: yes, Klout sucks.

It’s annoying and possibly even evil. Klout embodies everything about “Big Data,” that freaks people out: Being secretly judged on arbitrary, but bizarrely specific criteria? Check. Being assigned a purely numerical value based on secret algorithms cooked up by a computer at a data farm somewhere? Check. Whatever you’re afraid Google or Facebook is doing with all the information they’re gathering about you, Klout is actually doing it, and it has IRL consequences.

“So what?” you’re thinking. “I don’t have an account, so I’m not on the radar, right?” Wrong. If you have a Twitter or Facebook account, you have a Klout score and anyone with a Klout account can look it up.

So, your Klout score is out there now and it matters. If someone can hire or not hire you based on it, then you know that if you’re an entrepreneur, like a graphic designer or a freelance writer, your Klout score is going to start influencing the gigs you can land as well.

5 ways to increase your Klout score, even if you think it’s a stupid waste of time.
So you have to deal with Klout. But you don’t have to let it push you around.

  1. Tweet more often – One of Klout’s criteria is frequency of tweets. So increase yours.
  2. Specialize – Tweet and post about just one or two different topics. Become known as an expert. Interested in a wide range of topics? Great. Just don’t post, blog, tweet or pin about them. They’re not helping your score.   
  3. Follow the crowd – See a popular article on a popular Website? Tweet it or post it. Comment on it (just like this article about Klout!). That extremely moving and interesting post on your friend’s blog about the item that you actually care about? Ignore it. It’s hurting your Klout score.
  4. Suck up – Culitivate online relationships with netizens who have higher Klout scores than you do. Retweet their tweets, share their posts, comment on their blogs. In turn, if they follow good “netiquette,” they’ll retweet, share, etc your content as well, automagically pushing your Klout score higher. And you get a little bump just from associating with higher-scoring peeps.
  5. Get happy! – Tweet and post enthusiastically about upbeat topics. Because Studies Have Shown that upbeat updates get more positive engagement across social media sites.