Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Do I Have Klout? Do I Need Klout?


I'm not even sure how I discovered it. It may have been an ad from another social networking site. Or I may have been invited by a friend. But now I have it. Sort of.

Klout is a differently spelled version of clout, meaning influence we have. Not to be confused with the first definition, that being a blow to the head. This, of course, would be the kind of clout I need more often than attaining any sort of influence on people.

But I have Klout. It's a site where I plug in all my other social networking sites and Klout tracks all my activity. Here's their purpose statement: We’re helping millions of people unlock their influence and grow their Klout. 

Let me say right away I have no problem with the makers of Klout. The rest of what I have to say is also not an indictment of my friends who I know use Klout.


For me, Klout became just another game. Why? Because Klout takes all of your social networking site activities and measures it. Then it gives you a number. (Read: score.) I now had a new website to visit, to check out my number.

To make matters worse, I could see the numbers of my friends and colleagues, Facebook friends and bloggers alike. To state it another way, I could see who I was winning and losing to. Because in my mind the number instantly became a score. The higher my number, the better I must be doing, right?

Stop and consider, though, what this is measuring. My social activity. How many times did I post on Facebook? How many times did people respond and react to my posts? Were my comments retweeted? I realize Klout, as a company, has a far grander purpose than keeping up with the number of Facebook likes on my wall, but for me it was just a score. Worse yet, it was a score on how I was doing at life! And not even my real life. Klout could never account for how well I was doing my job, how many real conversations I was having, how many actual lives I may impact.

And yet I allowed a number to impact my day. If the number went up, I somehow felt better. If the number went down, somehow I had failed? Again, I realize the company has a much grander purpose than keeping score, but for me.... for now.... I think I need to lose the measurement.

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