I love to try new things social media related. I like to see what people find interesting, what they’re reading, and how we can connect to one another or what we have in common.
I’ve met other writers through social media, other bloggers, social media consultants, and yes… even knitters. Social media is a great way expand who you know and what you know!
So when I first heard about Klout.com I was pretty excited. A company that can tell you how influential you are just by the topics you tweet about, the people you connect with and interests you share with others. Pretty cool. Sign me up! Klout uses a scoring algorithm and the higher your score, the more influential you are (in the simplest terms).
But then I noticed that if I wasn’t literally sitting on top of my twitter account updating constantly, my score would drop. That’s depressing to me since I often consult for other brands and I spend a large amount of my time as a working writer, so my social networking, while still part of my routine, can end up on the back burner if I’m meeting a deadline, meeting with clients, or logging in hours for others. Still, I make it an effort to connect with everyone at least a few (maybe more!) times a day.
But when I started exercising the right to have my weekends to myself and virtually turn off the social networks, except when related to client work was when things really started to drop. So I did what any other self respecting Klout user would do; I tweeted more! I gave friends +K in topics that I knew they were knowledgeable about and I connected my other social networks, such as Facebook to my Klout account. Might as well expand as much as I can right?
Not only did my score not come up but I noticed that friends and family from Facebook (who had no interest in Klout) were showing up in my Klout dashboard; including my 15 year old son. Now I know for a fact he doesn’t have a Klout account, and I know my cousin in WI doesn’t have one or my friend in GA… and especially not my dad! Yet, there they all were and Klout was prompting me, no baiting me, to connect with them, influence them and convince them to sign up so that my own score could go up (because that increases my social reach apparently) and it all just felt wrong. It felt invasive. My dad doesn’t know what Twitter is but he nods and smiles in my general direction when I talk about it and frankly I think that’s all the influential I need to be about Twitter with him.
It was then that I decided that Klout and I needed to go our separate ways.
Parting Ways With Klout
Privacy is an issue. I am not on board with invasive sharing. Link me to people I know, people I currently connect with and give them the option to have their own profile; don’t just make one up for them and think that that’s going to be okay; especially in the case of those under 18.
Too Much Pressure. I have enough things to do every day. I monitor my Facebook, clients’ facebook accounts, twitter, blogs, and I write copy for clients too on any given day. I don’t have time to worry about whether or not I’ve tweeted enough today and then feel guilt and sting of a dropped score when Klout decides I haven’t.
Turning into a Swag-For-All. It’s nice to be able to test out new things but at some point there has to be a line that is drawn. I see a lot of people grabbing the “Perks” that Klout offers through its partnerships with other brands but I’ve seen very few people write about their experiences with said perks. Let’s not turn into Swag Whores over Klout. It’s not worth it.
True Reach, Really? I’m not a big fan of the numbers game. Never have been. In my consulting and blogger out reach for clients, I’ve noticed that sometimes it’s not the bloggers or people with big reach that are the most engaging. Just because you have great numbers doesn’t mean you’re all that influential. It might just mean that you tweet. A lot. Plus, I don’t think that a person’s true reach or even influence can be measured in numbers. It still boils down to the meaningful conversations and not just the links or shares in your social streams. All the flip flopping numbers makes me feel like I’m in high school and I missed the Merit Roll by thatmuch. Numbers can only measure so much.
Topical Confusion. I can understand that Klout might be right about a few things; I do talk about community management, writing, blogging, parenting, and being a mom a lot – but Barbies? I wrote one post on the symbolism of Barbie and growing up and now I’m influential about it. Try again Klout. I’m no more influential about Barbies than I am about NASA.
Lastly, I’m pretty sure that in order to figure out how Klout is measuring your influence and social reach you need to be a rocket scientist and like I always say, “they don’t pay me to do math”.
I’m going to sleep a little better tonight not worrying about numbers and whether or not my numbers are good enough to engage with the people I want to talk to and I’m darn sure not going to worry about how I can be more influential about Barbie.