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Map of the Day: The Geography of Klout

The Floating Sheep cartographers have produced yet another intriguing map, this time on the "Geography of Klout," the online service that attempts to gauge social media influence.

The map was created by first collecting more than 3.5 million geo-tagged tweets over four consecutive days. The team then grouped these by country of origin, randomly sampled for "up to 1000 users," and queried their Klout scores.

The resulting map (above) shows countries with a user sample of more than 50 users. Klout rates users on a scale of 1 to 100 and the Floating Sheep team found considerable variation. The average score was 26.

The United States, which tends to dominate social media rankings, came in just 10th on this analysis, with an average Klout score of 33. They note, however, that: "[T]his isn't to say that tweets emanating from the U.S. as a whole are not influential. The U.S. is the world's largest source of content on Twitter. This massive amount of information pushed through the platform undoubtedly means that American users in the aggregate have a large amount of visibility."

France took first place, with a countrywide Klout score of 37.8; Great Britain was second (34.9). Sweden (34.8), Brazil (34.8) and Indonesia (34.2) round out the top five.   

The researchers note the following caveats about their analysis:

This doesn't mean that there is a clear relationship between GDP (or level of 'development') and Klout scores. ... However, with a few exceptions, poor countries tend to have relatively low scores.

Is this because we are picking up traces of the cultural dominance of the North even in a supposedly decentralised network (i.e. Northern tweeters might tend to have greater reach and amplification than their Southern counterparts)? ...  On the other hand, perhaps we are just reproducing and amplifying opaque and highly problematic data. We should therefore certainly not overreach in any interpretations of these data.

Richard Florida is Co-Founder and Editor at Large at The Atlantic Cities. He's also a Senior Editor at The Atlantic, Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, and Global Research Professor at New York University. He is a frequent speaker to communities, business and professional organizations, and founder of the Creative Class Group, whose current client list can be found here. All posts »

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