“Please stop worrying about your Klout score, or your stock price on Empire Avenue and on all kinds of other measures that don’t have much to do with anything related to your real world. This is akin to still being in the Matrix, but thinking you have free will. Worrying about whether or not you’re an influencer by someone else’s measures is like having a toy steering wheel and thinking you’re driving the car.” — Chris Brogan on Influencers
This morning, after logging in to my Klout account to check new notifications, I noticed that my score had dropped from 64 to 55. At first, I was a little surprised. So, I visited the Klout blog and found an article regarding a new scoring model (“A More Accurate, Transparent Klout Score“). And while I skimmed through the huge amount of user complaints in the comment section, I remembered that this change had been announced a week before.
I did not give it much thought until one of my Twitter followers told me to check out the Klout Fan Page and have a look at the #Occupyklout Twitter hashtag. The outpouring of complaints from users who had lost between 10 and 20 score points overnight was so huge that it literally gave me a headache.
Those who have known me both online and offline for a while are aware that I will always express myself when I feel warranted to do so. And this was the perfect opportunity for me. So I left the following comment on the Klout Fan Page:
“And if, instead of wasting your time complaining about changes, you actually gave them a few days to see what they really are about? Are you going to lose your jobs? Are your lives in danger? Seriously.”
(Feel free to read the entire thread here. I am not expecting you to agree with my arguments. And whether you do or not, I want to read your thoughts. So, please add them in the comment section below this article.)
The comments that ensued were interesting and educational, to say the least. I learnt, for example, that Klout is now as important as LinkedIn when it comes to finding (and keeping) clients and jobs:
“We may not lose our jobs but we are probably going to lose some clients over it. Numbers are huge in our profession and we spend a great deal of time building networks so we can get our work recognized. Not too mention, our clients often ask for our numbers and how are we supposed to explain that we DROPPED 15 points overnight? Um….Hello? Seriously.”
So, apparently, clients and companies do not care about the quality of your website, the testimonials that you have gathered over the years, and your online (and offline) work. They just want to see how much you score on Klout?
I would love to know who got fired or told that they were not qualified enough because of the drop in Klout score. Please, do not be shy and share your experience in the comment section below!
“For many, Klout scores affect job applications, hiring considerations, promotions, and many other facets of their business lives. Many people have put a lot of effort into their scores, put their scores on resumes, use the scores to sell themselves to clients, etc. Imagine you tell a company your score is 61. Then the company checks your page and not only is it NOT 61, but the history reports that it’s never been above 47. Now you look like a liar and probably won’t get the client.”
I also learnt that Klout scores in social media seem to have the same value as SAT scores for college:
“When a person is rejected due to a lower SAT score and a person is passed over on a job consideration due to a lower Klout score, they are both adversely affected. It was a example to demonstrate that yes people do put value on scores. If people didn’t, there would be no grades on tests, no SAT scores, no sports scores, no quality ratings, etc. and no Klout scores. When a scoring system arbitrarily changes, whether or not you choose to acknowledge it, people are affected and some of the adversely.
One person seemed to get it, though, which made me feel better:
“Your Klout score is only as important as you say it is. If your clients or prospects are talking about it, then it’s up to you to educate them on it, including the changes, and shift their focus to the REAL results you have gotten your past and current clients. If your job depends on your Klout score, that’s because you set yourself up for it.”
Do not get me wrong. I have no problem with people complaining, especially when they feel that this something is unfair. But, there is unfair and Unfair. Klout is a free third-party platform, just like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. When you sign up for the service, you should read the fine prints: There will be benefits and drawbacks. And one of the latter is loss of freedom. You are literally at the “mercy” of the service. You cannot say that you did not know. You have had previous experience with Facebook. You know how they roll out changes over there!
Has social media really become a matter of numbers? What happened to connecting with people, building quality relationships and creating opportunities for personal and global growth? If you are a quantity addict, social media is not for you. Turn off your computer and get back to a 9-5 job.
If you do not pay for something, you cannot expect anything more than what you signed up for. And the guys running Klout are bound to experiment and try new things. Whether the new scoring system is good or bad is completely irrelevant right now. Let us wait for a couple of weeks before we pass harsh judgments.
In this world, everyone and their mother claim expertise in something, even if they have less than six months of experience. So maybe that is why a service like Klout exists. What would be the point, otherwise? If scores are dropping, I see it as a wake-up call. A wake-up call regarding the way we conduct business and connect with others online. We seem to have forgotten the reasons why we got into social media in the first place. So, it is time to go back to the basics.
If you just rely on a third-party service to make you look good, you are bound to be disappointed. Influence is not a matter of numbers in social media. Influence is earned through hard work and walking the talk.