Tag Archives: popularity

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.