Noah J Nelson on Wednesday, Jun. 20th
I’m writing this because I added the Klout app to my phone last night and started playing around with the social media– what is it a ranking service?– site again. Excuse me for sounding like an old man for a moment, but I’m still not sure I entirely “get” Klout. Which can be dangerous, because some companies are using Klout as a hiring metric.
Insane, since it likes to randomly attribute qualities to it’s users. Did you know, for instance, that I am influential about VHS tape? I sure as hell didn’t. I’m actually disappointed that I appear to no longer be influential about Batman. Scratch that: I’m devastated that I’m not influential about Batman anymore. Maybe if I got everyone to RT my shouting BATMAN! on Twitter.
BATMAN! BATMAN! BATMAN! [please RT]
— Noah J Nelson (@areyouthatguy) June 20, 2012
Strangest of all is the Klout site itself, which gives you Klout points to play with for visiting, which you can use to boost friend’s ratings in certain topics. At a quick glance it is not clear where the points come from or how you get more. A little digging in their FAQ section did clear up the questions either, and I’m too caffeinated to accept anything other than a fast, clear, and up front explanation today anyway.
It is possible to designate a friend as an influences on a certain topic and add that topic to their profile at the cost of a whopping +5K. Which I did for one friend who shares a passion for donuts with me. That was fun. I have no clue what it gets me or him. I’m hoping that it gets us free donuts… this is where I should probably disclose that I got a Klout perk one time from a car company. I think it was for free iTunes money. I don’t really remember which car company it was. Jokes on them! They tried to bribe me and it was mostly forgettable!
Look: I could see Klout being useful. Somewhere between Cory Doctorow’s idea of “whuffie” from his sci-fi classic “Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom”: a measure of social influence that grants one access to benefits based on the numerically tracked esteem of others. That’s kinda neat. Dynamic meritocracy for math nerds. Heck, I’d be happy with it if it just gave me recommendations for who would be useful to follow if I was, say, looking for people who knew a lot about how to get a sci-fi novel published.
Yet right now it just seems like a giant pissing contest that is being used to: a) market crap to us we can’t use and b) give us an excuse to ignore/revere people because a computer told us to.
There’s got to be more to this than that. Right?