Tag Archives: klout

Kicking Klout When They’re Down

Of late, several friends have shared stories that are rallying against Klout.

I’ve bitched about the website/metrics system since its launch, despite my supposedly “having” some Klout and receiving several “rewards” for said AWESOMENESS. Ha-ha, I have KLOUT, bitch!

But it’s all bullshit.

It really is.

Klout doesn’t know fuck all about what people really think about you, why they dig you, or really how you impact them.

It’s awesome that there’s a real backlash going on against them right now. Salon has their “Klout’s Bad for Your Soul” piece and several bloggers have shit-kicked them as well. Here’s Scalzi’s piece. Or this.

I loathe the metrics thing because it makes social media about the end result, not the process. There was “Twitter Grader” before Klout, and it was every bit as high-school.

These days, I see certain soc-med punditry subscribing to tools that relay their mention count for the week, all that crap, and I can’t help but think who the hell’s at the wheel? If you don’t KNOW you’re engaging people, then you’re doing it wrong. And these are people who should know just by reading their replies if they’re hitting home with their audience or not. I sure as hell do, and I’m not even doing this professionally.

That’s not even touching the validity of all this Klout melodrama, either.

I, apparently, am an incredible influencer on Reading, Pennsylvania.

If it weren’t for Monopoly, I wouldn’t even know about Reading, Pennsylvania. As it happens, I now know they have a railroad. But that’s about it. Maybe they mean about reading BOOKS, but despite about 50 mentions of this discrepancy to the @Klout Twitter account, the data tracking has never changed.

So, there’s inaccuracy, there’s stereotyping, there’s sweeping generalization, there’s oversimplification of data — hmm, what else does Klout have that every metrics system can do without? Does it need more? Well, let’s see here.

What Klout’s got is a big brand. They’ve marketed it well. They showed up in boardrooms and said, “Hey. We know you know fuck all about how this “social media” shit really goes down. No, no, you don’t need to learn The Twitter or The Facebook. Let us help! Here’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna dumb the data down, then spoonfeed it to you. We’re calling it “Klout.” Like that? Oh, I know you do. CATCHY, huh?”

This is a classic instance of telling someone that something is important because they say it’s important. “Why? Because I said so.”

They’ve even got Business Week writing about whether Klout’s recent change in metrics was hazardous to one’s hiring chances.

All you have to do to know I have some kind of “Klout” is to look at my account. I talk about mundane things, I swear a lot, and I have 4 followers for every one person I follow, and I’m on about 500 lists. Now, either I’m doing something right, or I’m quite convincing at spam. It doesn’t take a lot to put two and two together.

Sure, Klout’s a bit more complicated than that, but what I’m saying is — you don’t NEED Klout to figure out who might have something to say.

And does Klout tell you about the time I simply reported on Twitter that I bought some homeless guy a fast food sandwich on the way to work, and three people told me at the end of the day that they also bought homeless people food that day, all because I mentioned doing it, and they thought it felt great, and would start doing it regularly?

Now that’s the kind of clout I’m proud to have. That means something to me. It means people respond to the simplest of gestures, even online.

Instead, these yahoos like the Klout folk are measuring what’s tantamount to masturbation.

The system can be, and is, gamed by those who constantly “retweet” their replies to people. You know, someone says “@smuttysteff So how was your day?” and instead of replying to them, the Alternate Universe Complete Asshole Steff would reply publicly like this: “Well, except for that bad coffee, it was great! RT @RandomTweeter @smuttysteff So how was your day?”

Why is that a wanker move? Because you raise the number of times your name is mentioned. Kinda like a twofer dealio on data-stacking. Oh, look, says Klout — @smuttysteff just got TWO mentions! Wow! And, by replying to the person indirectly, you’re increasing the odds of yet another follow-up reply from them, thus again increasing your mention count.

But that’s why I try to keep it a little more genuine most of the time, with direct @replies to the person in question. I don’t need to falsely stack my mentions, because I don’t give a fuck what the metrics have to say.

It’s like everyone’s saying: High school is back, and it sucks more than ever. Thanks, Klout!

Social media’s gonna be a whole lot less fun if these fuckwits have their way.

Like it’s not often already a world of asshats saying what they think other people want to hear, of ass-kissing and back-slapping, of circle-jerks and compliment-orgies.

Uh-huh. Amping THAT up sounds like a good time to me.

Seriously. Stop believing in these stupid tools. Stop looking for validation. Stop worrying about the numbers.

Like the old adage goes — say what you mean, and mean what you say. That’s how you get real clout. That’s how you get relevant.

You can game your Klout score, but you can’t fake relevance. Good luck trying.

RANT: Elite? Who’s “Elite”?

Yesterday, someone in the Vancouver social media scene* sort of thought it ironic that I should slag “tweetups” as being elitist and circle-jerky, since I was avoiding the whole worldwide “Social Media Appreciation Day” thing that Mashable sponsored and launched right here in Vancouver.

Apparently the thought is that I am now “elite” in Vancouver.

Yeah, whatever.

I was taken aback a little, to be honest. About being called elite, not that Mashable should say we are the seat of the world’s social media scene right now.

So, about that. Let’s talk about social media in Vancouver and maybe how I do or don’t fit into it, okay?

These days, compared to a lot of people, I don’t have a “huge” Twitter following — it’s about 3,500, but in there are a lot of really notable people in media. I suppose that’s why Klout thinks I’m up there in my influence now. Weird shit.**

Now, you gotta know: I logged onto Twitter back in April of 2008, looked around, and said “This is fuckin’ lame. No way this will ever catch on.”

I didn’t log in again until August, when it sorta started making some sense to me.

Then I found myself liking the challenge of coming up with interesting things that people might get a kick out of, or respond to — I loved the resonance I had when I was creative and/or funny.

For me, Twitter has always been about the thrill of creation. I challenge myself to see the world uniquely, and try to relate it to others in a way that makes them indentify and think, “YEAH, TOTALLY.” I like to make observations most people have only the inclination to think, but seldom to speak.

I try and be to Twitter in lifestyle observations what someone like George Carlin might’ve been — that’s my goal. I’m falling short, sure, but that’s the goal. I’m not fucking there to be all buddy-and-chatty, but I do let myself get social on there, and love the friends it’s brought into my “real” life.

Frankly, being on Twitter has changed and improved my life in EVERY way. I don’t deny that, and it’s why it’s such a valued role / time-focus for me. I do LOVE the opportunities it generates.

When it comes to blogging in Vancouver, I can count on one hand the number of official “blogging” events I’ve attended — and one was as a speaker. I’ve been to less than 10 tweetups in two years. I’m hardly “on the scene” except via what you see online, and that’s how I’d prefer it.

To be truthful, I have social phases, they come and go — usually with the seasons, literally. Winter, I hibernate, but summer, I love to see people more.

As far as celebrities and/or “connected” people on Twitter or in blogging, know whose ass I kiss? No one’s. People I talk to, I talk to because I’ve got something to say or I genuinely like them, or, as is often the case, they’ve said something that springboards into the perfect joke for me to crack.

I think blogging/Twitter celebrities are a fucking laugh, because I’ve “been one” in the past, and I know what my life was like behind the scenes and how hard I had to work to keep that wagon-wheel turning — and how much I personally began to compromise to see that happen.

I know how disposable we “social media stars” all are. Think you’re a creative genius? Yeah, you’re just one of millions — and it can go as quickly as it comes, as I’ve learned myself. Get over yourself, ‘cos pedestals and empires both come tumbling down, my friend.

Online celebrity that your livelihood depends upon not as enviable a position as you might think, so I don’t care to be a professional blogger. If I did, you’d see oodles of ads on here or affiliate sites.

But, you don’t.

Maybe you will one day — I’m not above it; it’s just that I’m not interested in what it takes to keep going successfully. I have NO illusions about how hard it is to keep that success going, and I don’t want to be beholden to my content right now. Advertising can influence content if it becomes too financially integral to you, and I’m on this blogging journey for myself and to create dialogue about things, not to have a livelihood. Priorities, and I know what mine are right now.

As a result, I don’t need to go to tweetups to whore myself for clients, network, or make buddies, since I’m already stretched for making time for people I care about, so I kinda hate tweetups, for the most part.

Why? They’re awkward. A lot of tweetups can be phony, filled with self-puffery and promotion. Every time you shake a hand, you get a resume. It’s often loud and blarey. No “real” communication happens at them. They’re cliquey — I’m forced to pick people to hang out with, and I don’t WANT to pick a table and stick with it; I’d rather meet a wide assortment of people. I’m a mingler, not a “sit and be exclusive” type, and I hate feeling like I have to stick with who I came with. I prefer smaller events with 10 or fewer people, where I can actually make eye-contact with everyone and talk to each person at the table.

In short?

I didn’t fucking ASK to be liked by you, or anyone.

All I sought to do was be real, be myself, have a place to put my voice, and honour my responsibility to deliver the content I know I’m capable of creating.

THAT’s what I do.

THAT’s what I want acclaim for and feel I deserve it for, because I do take risks and put myself out there, and I’ve been judged, and I’ve lost jobs, and I’ve been ostracized, all while I’ve fought to have relevance for my voice and the beliefs I think deserve to get air time with everyone else’s.

I’m a WRITER. I’m a writer who uses the now-accessible modern tools well. That’s ALL.

I’ve paid the real-life price to get noticed and be outspoken, and I did it on my terms the whole goddamned time.

Yes, I think that’s worth saying.

Yes, I’m proud of never compromising who I am.

You think that makes me full of myself? Then I’m sorry you don’t know what it’s like to have pride in what you’ve created. Pride is good, so long as you realize you’re not the only one with skillz.

I deliberately avoid hanging out with those perceived to be “the elite” because I don’t want ANYONE to think that’s all that I’m about.

I’ve worked too hard for this NOT to be about MY CONTENT and ONLY my content.

Am I going to diss the elite? No fucking way. Why not? Because some of them are incredible people doing incredible things, and they deserve every bit of their acclaim, whether you think so or not. A lot of people slam the “elite” out of jealousy or some sense of entitlement that leaves them feeling like they’ve been robbed via others’ success.

It’s bullshit. You get what you work for in life, and if you’re not getting what you want, you’re doing it wrong.

Trust me, this I know. I’ve spent a lot of time fucking it up over the years. I have a doctorate in fucking up, honey.

These days, I’m just riding the wave life brings me, and if being myself and not censoring my thoughts on Twitter somehow has given me cachet with a wide range of people, then that’s great, but it’s not EVER been the motivation behind anything I’ve tweeted or blogged.

I was the unpopular kid in high school so I get how bullshit popularity is, and how, for every person who’s accepted and celebrated, there are a dozen who are isolated and hurt — and that, too, is bullshit.

I am NOT a part of that circle. I am NOT a part of that hurt.

If I fucking cared about the circle-jerk, or thought my social status mattered, I’d probably try to offend fewer people.

I don’t even know what elitism is anymore, because I know I’m sure as hell not guilty of it, yet I get the feeling I’m accused of it.

I’m an anti-social person who comes to hang out some of the time, but would rather have someone over for coffee, not tweet about their visit, and just keep it real. I’m not snubbing anyone, it’s just not my deal.

Walk a decade in my shoes and maybe you’ll see why I like my quiet, anti-social life.

Know who I had over for breakfast this morning? Nope, you don’t. They’re “elite”, according to some people’s skewed perspectives on things, but I don’t give a fuck if you know. Why? Because I don’t need your approval, I don’t need the reputation-crutch of name-dropping, and I just generally don’t care.

The only time I do care is when people think I’m mean or a jerk, because I’m not, and it’s plain wrong to think so.

Find a time I’ve used cruelty against a person or group for humour. Give me an example. You can’t. Tell me about the time that I publicly ostracized someone who did something inconsequential, making an mockery of them in an attempt to belittle them. Right, you can’t. Tell me about the time that I snubbed people who approached me at an event. Yeah, you can’t do that either.

Because that’s not who I am.

I’m a scattered ADHD chick with strong but fair opinions and a biting sense of humour who’s just doing her shit, and people seem to like it.

Where you think it places me on the social spectrum is all about your deal, it’s not my reality.

It’s like that line in the Breakfast Club opening voiceover — “You see us how you want to see us.”

But I’m the chick that wakes up knowing I live with a bug problem and have to struggle to pay the rent.

I’m not on the A-list, I’m not hobnobbing, I’m not well-to-do, and I’m not who you fucking think I am.

Just because I give you this strategic view on my world doesn’t mean you really know jack shit about my life, so don’t kid yourself. You know EXACTLY what I want you to know, and not a fucking bit more — because I’m anti-social and things about my life don’t just “slip” into the public knowledge. It’s very much under my thumb. All of it.

You think I’m the ultimate oversharer? Heh. Right. I’m pulling the puppet-strings — I’m a content creator, I’m not a diarrhetic flood with no censure. Trust me, there’s a master plan, but it doesn’t involve hobnobbing with “the scene”.

It’s time to get over what we think other people are, and just take them exactly for what they say and do.

Because, you know, if you actually judge me on my words and actions, I’ll be goddamned proud to stand behind them.

And that’s who I am.

*This person meant it in a casual observation way and I didn’t take offense but it was the first time someone really put into words what I’ve sort of had people suggesting for a while now, and now that it’s out and said, I thought I’d write about it. As I started writing, I got worked up. Thus the cookie crumbles.

**Maybe being interested in Klout seems hypocritical after this rant, but why would I create content if I didn’t want it read or absorbed? I’m absolutely interested in knowing my resonance, I want to be read, I just don’t care about getting on “the list” socially.