I cannot believe how much drama there is around Klout’s most recent changes.
I mean, come on, people, it’s only a number.
How many times do any of us have to say that?!
Let me tell you a little story.
Last week, I clicked through to an email Klout sent me telling me I had new notifications (yes, now I’ve realized that they’re doing that every day, and I’m not going to fall for it any more; suffice it to say I wasn’t having a particularly smart day) on my profile.
When I looked, I noticed something funny. Literally funny, not weird funny.
You see, Klout had decided I was (am) influential on bacon. Also Kim Kardashian.
I started laughing. The bacon I could somewhat understand, since the last couple of weeks I’ve been having fun by tweeting (and Facebooking) about bacon, and people played along. Sometimes it’s literally been just one word. “Bacon.” Nothing else.
(Where Kim Kardashian came from, I know not.)
When I was doing this, Jen Zingsheim jokingly asked if my goal was to become “influential” on bacon, so it tickled me to see that, as far as Klout went, this had apparently happened. Note that this screenshot was taken at 8:21 am ET on October 21.
I was joking around about this online, and next thing I knew, some of my friends decided to really pull the other one.
So at 12:59 pm that day – just a few hours later, guess who was listed among the top +K recipients for Kim Kardashian (click on the image for a larger version to enjoy my “art”):
Note the devil horns I gave Gini Dietrich and Joe Hackman, because they made it their mission in life that day to get as many people as they could to give me +K on Kim Kardashian.
Then, at 6:31 pm that evening, here’s where bacon and Kim Kardashian stood, as far as my alleged influence goes:
I took these screenshots because I was enjoying the game, and I thought I might be able to use them later.
Turns out I was right. Ha!
(And, by the way, my score has dropped since then as well.)
You know as well as I do that I am not influential on either of these topics.
I mean, if I told you to eat utterly, butterly, delicious bacon, day in and day out, would you really listen to me?
Conversely, if you’re a huge Kim Kardashian fan (God have mercy on your soul), and I told you to not do a single thing to support that (IMHO) heinous excuse for a family empire, would you really listen to me?
And doesn’t the fact I (currently) have a higher Klout score than Richard Edelman – one of the true leaders and influencers in our industry – speak volumes?
Mark Schaefer made an excellent point when he said things like Klout scores and follower numbers do matter from the point of social proof. He also made it clear that he doesn’t buy into this, and that we are living in a “very, very weird world.”
Do I buy into it?
I understand that some people do. And as much as I’d like to take Klout and throw it out the window, I understand it’s not going away any time soon.
But I do not, for one moment, believe that your relevance, or influence, or importance is determined by a number. Especially not a number that can’t even tell activity from influence. Faugh.
Think Traackr would come up with those results? I highly doubt it.
Since I have to live and work in this “very, very weird world,” as Mark put it, I know I have to keep an eye on it.
That doesn’t mean I have to like it.
So please, let’s stop the madness.
It’s just a friggin’ number, for heaven’s sake!
[…] realize Klout is relatively young and has a long way to go to mature as it fine-tunes its product. For the time being, it remains a game as far as I’m […]
[…] previous influential moments rather than predicting them) – but his anecdote on being a “Bacon” and “Kim Kardashian” ”influencer” got me […]
[…] me how important social scores are, I tell the story of how, a while back, Klout deemed me a “bacon” and “Kim Kardashian” influencer, simply because some friends and I were playing around on Twitter and Facebook with those topics. […]
[…] Of course, I could always ask Shonali to the rescue. She’s after all “a 63″ and the Klout resident expert on all things bacon and Kim Kardashian. […]
@corey_smith I finally had a chance to look at these. Thanks for sharing the info… funny and informative. The video was great..
Let’s cut to the chase, Shonali.
Have you and Kim tweeted?
@Ari Herzog I didn’t know there was a chase we were cutting to. Have I tweeted *at* Kim? No. Has Kim tweeted *at* me? No.
[…] The Klout Drama Kontinues (waxingunlyrical.com) […]
@corey_smith Thank you!
@corey_smith thanks for sharing, I will check them out…
@corey_smith @shonali me, too! It’s just a number, right? Not finding a cure for cancer.
@ericamallison @corey_smith Wouldn’t that be something, if it were, though? :p
I agree with @Marcus_Sheridan , what a train wreck. And really, how sustainable is Klout and their ‘standard of influence’. I think it’s all well and good to keep an eye on it, but this whole discussion has gotten way out of proportion with what really matters in life and who or what really influences. I think it’s a vanity game to pretend to know or understand it. I’m not referring to you, @Shonali , just the whole exercise and the collective group of online media mavens and mavericks who so desperately want to yield true influence and in doing so, support efforts such as Klout (could they not spell it correctly?) because it supports their case. Sorry for the rant; I’ve had some time to reflect lately and I’m bothered! ;)
Great to see you however!
@EricaAllison You never have to apologize for ranting, rant away! @Marcus_Sheridan
Great post, as usual, Shonali! As one of the people that publicly gave you Klout for bacon influence, I am half wondering if Klout didn’t just turn around and punish me for mocking the integrity of its ratings. :( I’ve had a most bizarre week in Klout. First, my Klout sank from 54 to 38. Then I somehow got renamed after a Facebook page (I am one of several administrators) and recategorized as a brand influencer. That caused me to delete my Klout Facebook connection, which oddly enough caused no change in my Klout score. Just for fun, I then deleted all my other connections as well (LinkedIn, Foursquare, etc.). That too had no impact on my Klout score. I guess Klout has programmed me at 38, and that score has no connection to my LinkedIn connections, Facebook friends, etc. It’s very strange and not very transparent at all (my Klout history reads that my record high was 40, lower than I recall it ever being). I like the explanation this week at http://www.centernetworks.com/klout-ad-network speculating that Klout is really a cleverly disguised ad network. I know it’s just a number, but I have to admit I am upset about it. I’m human!
@CyberlandGal I think there is also something very interesting going on where people get upset (as you did), and try to figure out what they did “wrong.” Of course you’re human, we all are. I don’t think they’re necessarily doing anything “wrong,” but I think we should all be focusing (myself included) on the actual outcomes we are trying to achieve. So someone has a Klout score of 68… so what? What does that mean in the larger context of the actions we’re trying to generate for our clients/businesses? So far, I have seen no correlation at all. Have you? Btw, what account(s) do you currently have connected to your Klout?
@Shonali I suspect Facebook’s new algorithm is more weighted toward Facebook, where I am less active. I don’t use Facebook for networking, just keeping up with my friends. I did notice a former colleague of mine (who I am connected to on several accounts) gained 8 points under the new algorithm and now has higher Klout than say Kellye Crane. He makes a lot of sports updates on Facebook, and Klout has him as a a football expert among other things but makes no mention of his real expertise in public relations.
I could point to this and other crazy examples (I wrote a blog post about a marketing professor who grades based on Klout but has lower Klout than most of his star students at http://www.eventuresincyberland.com/2011/11/video-clip-of-the-month-branding-prof-eats-klout-crow/) and say “so what?” I do see little connection between Klout score and actual influence (or at least influence as Klout categorizes it). But I am concerned less informed potential clients could use it as a hiring factor.
P.S. Oddly enough, my Klout is now 40. It’s gone up 2 points in the last day. I am unsure if my Facebook, LinkedIn, and Foursquare accounts were hurting me (I’ve kept them deleted and only have Klout linked to Twitter) or if it’s because I live tweeted a Hubspot webinar and received more retweets than I normally do.
@mattlacasse @kmueller62 @bdorman264 @joey_strawn @kdillabough Thank you for sharing!
@kmueller62 Are you all set for the match this morning?
@shonali Of course!
Great post my friend. Klout has produced both evidence of its uselessness and it’s ability to provide some basis for review & evaluation. The system is far from perfect but none are in this fast changing profession we love. The best we can do is continue with smart, strategic programs that we measure as best we can. Is Klout part of that? Maybe but it certainly isn’t the 100% answer.
@mdbarber Doesn’t look like they want anyone to actually review it, though…
@Shonali It does seem they’ve gone underground since they came under fire last week. Maybe not the best strategy…
@GautamGhosh Good post, @shonali but utterly, butterly, delicious is reserved for Amul. :) #nostalgia
@SameerPatel I agree ;-) @shonali
@gautamghosh @SameerPatel Only Indians will get that, though. :p
OK, your Klout story is much better than mine. :-)
@SandraFernandez Put bacon in there and pretty much everything is better. :)
This is great! We talked about bacon & shoes one day! I think they are both good for your Klout :)
@BarbYouchah Speaking of shoes, I got the most beeyootiful Betsey Johnson heels a while back. @kiki will love them too!
This is awesome Shonali! I’ll make sure to remember I know who to call if I have questions about Kim Kardashian eating bacon :)
Yes, I would eat bacon everyday if you said to………….no on Kardashian however. Did you know skypulsemedia killed my Klout score because he dropped off of Facebook? I do like their perks however, I did get a new car………….that’s pretty cool, don’t you think? Hopefully I will get my license back soon so I can drive it; for now I’m just living out of it………..
I think it is humorous to see the lively banter on it. Maybe I can come up w/ some kind of measurement tool that will be controversial and it will be only one that Howie endorses as the only true measure of influence and the twitterverse will blow up with all the posts and comments and I will get to go on Conan and stuff. And then everybody will be hatin’ on me because I’m so famous and then I will drop my 37 followers and quit replying to comments and everybody can say ‘hey, who is that with Bill Dorman?’……….
@bdorman264 Bill. You must eat bacon every day. And I love the “who is that with Bill Dorman?”!!! skypulsemedia
The sad thing is, it seems to be more than just a number now. Klout are adding profiles to their system where it clearly violates their Terms of Service. From the Klout website:
“Our Policy Towards ChildrenThe Site is not directed to persons under 18. If a parent or guardian becomes aware that his or her child has provided us with personally identifiable information without their consent, he or she should contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We do not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from children under 13. If we become aware that a child under 13 has provided us with personal identifiable Information, we will delete such information from our files.”
And yet users alerted to accounts being set up by Klout from scraping profiles are including ones from Facebook where the person is 13 years old.
Nice approach, Klout…
@DannyBrown That’s what’s so irritating about it – that people are taking it for more than what it is. And the potential privacy issue is really troubling…
Hmmm, reading this post made me hungry for bacon. Look, you influenced me!
@Neicolec Ha!!! Bacon bacon bacon!
For the record everything is better with bacon and not with Kim K.
By the way when I saw the Klout number change, I did a quick double-take. I then checked a few other profiles and noticed they had changed a similar amount, shrugged and went back to giving vanity +k’s :)
@Shonali If they invited you to meet Kim K. would you do it? Would you go on their reality TV show?
@hackmanj And what’s her name’s soon-to-be ex probably agrees. Oh wait, no, he said he’s heartbroken or something like that…
No, I would not go on their show unless they donated a ton of money to charity for me to appear, or something like that. And honestly, even then, I think it would depend on the context. I understand that they are playing to ratings, but it’s pretty sad, IMHO, that this is what passes for entertainment these days.
@Shonali I guess this is just another case of truth being stranger than fiction. I mean who would dream this story up?
What a great idea… (re: charity) but ratings and divorce seem like they shouldn’t be together. If Kim took a leave of absence from the show that would make a lot more sense than making it continue to be a for profit spectacle. We’ll see.
@hackmanj I couldn’t (dream this story up, I mean). Do you think she will take a leave of absence from the show? I think they will milk the (non)drama for all it’s worth…
I have a feeling many, many folks in 5 years are going to look back and say, “Do you remember that influencer thingy called Klout? Gee, what a train wreck that was…”
I’ve personally decided not to pay any attention to my klout score at all. I have no idea what it is and don’t plan on paying attention any time soon.
Good stuff Shonali,
@Marcus_Sheridan We can only wait and see… and hope! Thanks so much for stopping by, Marcus.
I love this post Shonali! And I agree, it’s just a number and it’s not going anywhere so all we can do is keep an eye on it.
@Cision It’s one of the most enervating exercises in the world. Sigh.
Nice post. So how do I get a date with Kim?
@barryrsilver You’d want a date with Kim? Oh dear. I have nothing to say.
@Shonali@barryrsilver I can help you with that but her husband won’t like it.
@TheJackB@Shonali I doubt he would even see me, I come up to his kneecaps. Besides, I’m not stupid, I’m getting ready, just incase.
@barryrsilver Barry, there will be other opportunities like this one:
@Shonali I just figured you’d know how, being an expert and all.
@barryrsilver PS – now that she’s getting divorced it might be the time to swoop in. Right @TheJackB ?
@Shonali@TheJackB Actually I’m concerned she heard I was interested and that was the cause for divorce. I was only kidding. Sorry, Kris. Lil ol’ marriage wrecker, me.
@barryrsilver Tsk tsk. But now your glass is half-full instead of half-empty. Ha! @TheJackB
@Shonali@barryrsilver Look if you are a Cubs fan than it doesn’t take much to get excited. There is a better chance of marrying Kim than the cubbies winning the series.,
I think you’re right when you say that as much as we hate it, Klout is not going away anytime soon and it’s not entirely possible to completely ignore it. It’s sort of become a situation where everyone knows it’s a waste of time but they’re playing along anyway because everyone else is and they don’t want to get left behind. And Klout IS way off-base in identifying some of the topics we are supposedly ‘influential’ in. (I made the same point in my blog post on Klout yesterday: http://bit.ly/uX0Hza) Hopefully, with time, people will pay less attention to Klout as a metric and become more aware of its limitations. I think we all need to keep in mind that real clout is spelled with a ‘C’!
@farida_h Don’t you dread the day when the dictionary replaces “clout” with “klout”? I have a bad feeling that is coming.
A lot of folk have talked about how the problem is not with Klout, it’s with the way people use it. I think there is definitely some personal responsibility involved, but what really gets on my nerve is Klout calling itself “the standard for influence.” Not even “online influence,” nor “social networking influence.” It’s the sweeping tag line that I really detest. And they have done a fantastic job of marketing themselves, which I have to give them credit for. Still doesn’t mean that I like the product or premise.
I think Klout is stupid, but companies use it, so i do monitor my score. I dropped a whopping 3 points to a 50. I am influential about bacon and have been for a long time. I wrote a blog post called “Reasons I Love Bacon More Than Gini Dietrich” and that helped. I give +K in random topics and MAY have helped with the IKim Kardashian thing.
Since I am a bacon trendsetter, erinmfeldman made me an awesome bacon badge. Now, that to me is real Klout! Being recognized as a bacon influencer among my friends. That is fun.
@NancyD68 Making that badge was a lot of fun. :)
Klout seems to have become even more of a game recently. Check your Klout; get a badge! Or two or three…My Klout score dropped all of two points with the new algorithm. I’m glad. It means I’m eligible for the NXNE event. ;) skypulsemedia
@Erin F. I want to see the badge! And shouldn’t I have one? “Cough cough.” :p I did notice the whole “woo hoo, you got a new badge” thing when I logged in the other day. I thought it was silly.
@NancyD68 You sure did help with the Kim Kardashian thing. Curses. :p
Honestly, I see where my score is every now and then, but so far at least, how it’s going up/down or why has not changed the way I behave. When I was offline for a few weeks after surgery, it dropped. The minute I did a Twitter chat, it zoomed up. It really does seem as if all it’s looking at is how chatty I am online. I can talk till the cows come home, but how that makes me “influential,” I don’t know.
@Shonali A bacon trendsetter one or a Kim Kardashian one? I’ve been thinking about how I would draw a Kardashian one. @NancyD68 Perhaps I’ll have to post images of the badge on Facebook, but I’ll defer to Nancy. It’s her badge. :)
@Erin F.@Shonali I am not too bright with computers. I must find a way to get my bacon badge displayed. ;)
@NancyD68@Shonali If I end up making more badges for people, I’ll have to create a badges album on Facebook. :)
@Erin F. I’m sensing a brand new business model here… @NancyD68
@Shonali Heehee. A business model in which the reward system is controlled by me? I think it would be entirely too much power for one person. You didn’t say if you preferred a Kardashian or a bacon badge…unless I somehow have to merge the two together. That would be interesting. @NancyD68
@Erin F. Ooh, I really get a badge? Bacon, please. Thank you!
When you said “merge KK & bacon together” I had visions of Lady Gaga. Uh oh.
@Shonali Oh no. We can’t have that. No Lady Gaga reincarnations on the badges are allowed.
Totally loving this post! Entertaining and you’re right. Klout is not close to figuring out true influence. They need to fix their algorithms.
@AndreeaC_T What is really scary is the way companies are taking it as gospel truth, or at least a significant factor in their decision making. Klout doesn’t care about what you and I think. It’s like amritpa1 said in his post from a few days ago… when something is “free,” it’s not really.