I don't give a sh*t what your Klout Score is. There, I said it.
"Influence" is an interesting phenomenon, especially when it's mentioned in the same breath as social networking. Back in the day, peers and networks were built upon mutual affiliations or connections, trust, or affinity for the same ideas, material goods or other shared-likeness. I'd like to think a lot of that still holds true, even with the introduction of "influencer analytics measurement" programs such as Klout.
Never heard of Klout before? Lucky.
Klout has labeled itself as the "standard for influence" for online activity. On the surface, it's a glorified popularity fluffer. It's the hot cheerleader that gives the starting quarterback extra sides of lovin' after a big Friday night win. Klout has an algorithm in place that "calculates" your level of influence based upon your activity levels across a multitude of social platforms, and analyzes your personal networks, information shared, etc. to come up with a score ranging from 1 to 100. That's all fine and dandy, but I call bullsh*t.
What Klout is doing is using an assigned number to try and tell me who I'm influenced by, and more ridiculously, why I'm influenced. Last time I checked, I base my influencers off of the conversations, intellect and common bonds with people, rather than a mathematical equation.
Case in point: recently I attended a pretty rad PR/social media event at Marquette, covering a healthy span of topics related to PR/SM. One of the sessions was on influence, so I was curious. Sitting through the session, it became very clear to me (and most of the attendees in the room) that the presenter of the session – ironically with the word "influencer" in his title – was doing little more than stroking his own ego and sharing stories that most would not gain insight from.
You sir, were no influencer. Your drunken angry birds costume story didn't influence me; it just wasted my valuable time. In fact, the student and professional attendees at the event influenced me more so than this presenter.
What am I influenced by? Integrity. Honesty. Your opinions that lead to intellectual or spirited conversations, or your acts that inspires me to follow in your footsteps. The personal experiences you share that help convince me to take action, purchase a good or make a reservation. Above all, make me think, make me feel. A number can't measure that accurately.
If your introduction goes something like this: "Hi I'm <insert name here> and my Klout score is <insert number here>," I'll be polite and say hello, then quickly purge your name from my mental Rolodex.
What are you thoughts on Klout scores and more importantly, what influences you?
So is this kinda like saying 'my e-penis is bigger than yours'?
If it worked, it would be really pretty interesting but there are two 'deal killing' flaws IMO.
1. The algorithms that determine your score are often abysmal. ex: I am currently influential about Alberta. I've never been to Alberta. I don't know anyone (that I'm aware of) in Alberta and I sure has heck don't ever talk about Alberta.
2. Influence, as you point out, should be about positive or negative interactions that directly affect an 'action'. But Klout influence is really about kicking up dust, and creating a lot of thread activity on a subject, which doesn't necessarily prove much of anything. Sure people can give you +K, but its a really arbitrary process. The act of then using one's Klout for perks and rewards makes the credibility issue even a little more dubious. Now if you'll excuse me I have to go log a bunch of Foursquare check-ins so I can become the mayor of something. ;)
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