For a couple of months now, I’ve been getting notification after notification that some friend or other has wanted me to register for Klout. I always ignore such things as I have enough to keep up with between the publications I write for, the guest features I work on, my promotional work, and just plain existing. Additionally, I don’t see any particular need to subscribe to every social media service in existence as I believe that there is still much to be said for actual interpersonal interaction.
That said, the other day, upon receiving what I deemed to be a rather comical message from a friend, I decided to dig a bit deeper into the trend that is Klout.
It began after a dear friend of 20+ years sent a message in which she was describing how funny she found it that, according to Klout, I am an expert on white people, privacy, and Panda Express (for non-American’s, Panda Express is fast food which is alleged to be Chinese; though this is negligible at best). While I certainly found this to be as amusing as she did, it got me thinking. How in the world could any database come up with such information? I’ve mentioned Panda Express one time. Ever. I don’t ever make mention of people by race, am in no groups that would indicate anyone’s race, and, in all honesty, couldn’t care less about race. As for privacy; though it would be a stretch, I did write one article on musician’s, Twitter, and how to make fans feel as though they have access to you without sacrificing your personal life/private information. That hardly qualifies me as an expert, though.
The aforementioned friend is Nikole Hogan, a writer for SNM Network which is a meld between The Onion and The Daily Show; according to Klout, she is expert on mattresses.
After wracking my brain with this for days, I decided to activate a Klout account, link my Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts to see what it would come up with. I wondered what kind of data it would give me about my Panda Express expertise, among other things, so I bit the proverbial bullet and did what I had to do to create my profile.
For those unfamiliar with Klout, it’s a company which uses analytics to gauge your social media influence and alleged power on the internet.
Since I hadn’t linked my accounts, I thought that perhaps the accuracy of what I’m actually good at and what I actually talk about would change upon completing my profile. I completed the questions about who influences me most in social media, with whom I interact the most, and what my interests are and expected my results to come back with far more accuracy given the fact that the developers of Klout are so fond of throwing around words like “algorithms” and “analytics” when describing how their program works.
After all was said and done, I was still an expert on Panda Express and white people. Between Thursday when I got the message from Nikole and last night when I created the Klout profile, I must have forgotten a thing or two about privacy, as I’m no longer considered to be an ‘expert’ on that.
This isn’t even the most aggravating part of it all, to me. My Klout score, which is rated on a scale of 1-100 , is 49. The nice people at Klout did assure me that after my profiles were completely linked (I’m not sure what exactly that meant) my score would likely go up. It could take up to 90 days to get an accurate reading of your Klout score. The funniest part of all of this was that I saw Klout scores of people who are, quite literally, the most influential people in the music industry. Their scores were 19, 24, 16, etc. Something tells me that that isn’t accurately using algorithms and analytics to gauge their influence.
It also listed music as one of the things I talk about the least on the internet. For those who don’t know me particularly well, music is virtually all that I talk about, especially on the internet.
So why does this bother me so? Because people place a lot of value in social media numbers. Be it the producers, managers, and record company people who won’t even look at an artist who doesn’t have a certain number of Facebook or Twitter followers, to the new focus on Klout scores, these numbers matter to people.
Don’t believe me? This article speaks of a man who was passed over for a job solely because of his Klout score. It also mentions companies offering airline and hotel upgrades anonymously to patrons with high Klout scores. http://www.wired.com/business/2012/04/ff_klout/
Is that what it’s coming to? I’m all for companies providing quality customer service because that’s the right thing to do, not because they don’t want to irritate the wrong Klout user. What would a hotel do if two guests had the same score, yet only one got a room upgrade? Deal with a bad review from the other as a sort of social media blackmail?
It’s all so ridiculous. With countries around the world going bankrupt, why aren’t citizens focusing on their credit scores, rather than their Klout scores?
While some may consider it a bonus to check in at some chain restaurant on FourSquare, get a free appetizer, and now have the added thrill of getting a Klout Perk on top of, I’m happy to have deactivated my account. I’ll take my chances with what society throws at me as a result.
*Social News Media Can be found online here http://www.SocialNewsMedia.net/
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Do check them out, they’re funny!