Klout scores are falling and people are flailing. A new algorithm, Klout says. More meaningful and transparent than the one that used to make us shine a little brighter. I confess it’s difficult not to feel a pang of disappointment and failure when you look at the site and see that your internet social status has suddenly plummeted. Easy to believe that you are not as influential as you thought you were.
Reality check people: nothing has changed. The numbers have been manipulated. Your true score, whatever that is, is the same as it has always been. Besides, in case you hadn’t noticed, Klout is sometimes a little misguided in the places it sees you as having influence.
Take sheep for example.
A few days back, somebody gave me +K on sheep. And then another person gave me +K on sheep. I have to admit, this amused me and was my happy thought for an entire difficult day at work. But, at the moment, sheep is the topic heading the list of things about which I am influential. To a casual bystander who doesn’t follow me, this would indicate that I am perhaps a shepherd, or a vet who specializes in treating the flock, or even an avid spinner of wool.
I am none of these things. I happen to have written a blog post awhile back asserting that there is a flock of special forces sheep that are writing and revision enforcers, and will come to get you if you slack off on your writing. I sometimes tweet to warn people they need beware the sheep, when they are not writing.
My friend Johanna Harness, who actually has sheep, cares for sheep, and writes about sheep from time to time, is not nearly as influential about sheep as I am. There is something wrong with this picture.
Other topics I am influential about include The New York Times, which I don’t read, and Wheelchairs, which I can’t remember ever tweeting about. Sure, things I do spend a lot of time nattering on about are on there too: writing, coffee, books, creativity. Which lends some validity to whatever the algorithm is, but come on. If Klout is this far off the mark in interpreting the topics we are influential about, do we really want to trust what it tells us about our social media status?
After the whole sheep thing came to light a couple of nights ago, I made an important decision. I really should be influential about penguins. After all, the MC in my WIP has a penguin familiar. My friends agreed to help me by giving me +K in penguins but we ran into an immediate problem. Penguins are not on the list of things I am influential about, and no additional Klout can be given me until they are. So, we talked about penguins at length. Included the word in every other tweet. Asked and answered questions about them. That was when Wheelchairs got added to the list of my influences.
I’m not giving up though. +K in penguins is the new Holy Grail of my internet experience.