When I Unplugged From Klout
First let me give you the condensed version of my first impression of Klout, since it hasn’t changed:
Klout is trying to make a cyber-geek’s ultimate dream come true to some extent: to be able to show off cyber power in the flesh. To actually get tangible bling–not just another point on a board or a ding! for the next level–for pouring heart and soul into cyberspace. Something disturbingly like when Neo in The Matrix flexes his arms and the steel in the “matrix” bends around him.
And so, not long after the Klout algorithm was reset, I quietly unplugged my account. It was simple (thank you, Mr. Fernandez), and as I’m on my way out–still deleting Klout notifications from my email–I wanted to share a few of my post-Klout social media feelings.
Better. Before I unplugged from Klout, a lot of my feelings about it were shadowed by a kind of helpless hypocrisy: I was outspoken against it, but rather sensitive to it personally, and especially after my Klout score took a dive I waited a while because I didn’t want any doubt in my own mind that I wasn’t doing it because I was a sore sport. That bothered me. Jennifer Devitt of SYDCON felt the same way. Now that I’ve unplugged, that hesitation is gone, and I feel better.
Satisfaction. I’d never appreciated having Klout impose its gamified, money-making idea of what social media should be on me willy-nilly, and it felt good to escape it.
Blissful unawareness. When you have no Klout score, it can be whatever you want it to be. When I see other users’ Klout, I’m awfully glad I have no number of my own to compare to it. It’s one less thing to check.
Guilt. As my relationships and interactions on social media strengthened, several people I respect and whose opinions I value gave me +K. I thought of them immediately after I’d unplugged, and I don’t want them to feel they wasted their time. To those of my readers who did: Thank you. I’ll always treasure your recognition.
I’m still fascinated by Klout. It has all the morbid magnetism of a train wreck for me. But now I’m not part of it.
Have any of you unplugged from Klout? Tell me what it felt like.
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I joined Klout a few weeks ago out of sheer boredom. Within days they'd dubbed me influential in cats and money. I'm a dog person with no math skills, so they'll have to pardon me for not taking their findings seriously. (I still like to check in every day or two to see what topic I'm supposedly influential in. Next time, astrophysics perhaps?)
@P_Hendrickson Lol, leave it to Klout, Paula! There's a running joke among some of my tweeps, as many of them raced to become "influenial" in the weirdest and most irrelevant things possible, just for kicks.
I haven't unplugged, but I don't take it too seriously either. After the recent changes, I also did my Klout article, Klout is a noun, not a goal http://www.thewritestuff.be/2011/10/clout-is-a-noun-not-a-goal/ ;- )
thewritestuff1 I appreciate this quote in your article quite a bit: "...there is a very strong danger that it becomes a goal in itself." Because that seems to be Klout's point--the "carrot" they're dangling is the goal of higher klout, ostensibly to get more power in the social sphere, but in reality for the swag from their sponsors, who want us to advertise it to our followers... since we're so influential, I guess. Thanks for sharing.
Shakirah, you are definitely part of a growing trend. I'm not ready to unplug yet, just because I want to see where the whole thing shakes out (and because it requires virtually no effort on my part). Like you, I do appreciate the +K's and will try to log in and give them once in awhile. Admittedly, it could be meaningless, other than the gesture itself.
adamtoporek Waiting to see what happens in the end is reasonable, Adam, and I'm still curious myself.
Well, quite truthfully I didn't feel strongly enough one way or the other to do anything pro-actively about it. If it says I'm sucking wind because I don't play at the right houses, or tweet when I'm supposed to, then I can't help it. Klout will not put one dime in my pocket, nor will it take any money away from me.
I got into this part of social because I thought it was supposed to be social. I quickly discovered everybody is 'working' in here and for some reason got caught up in the measurement game. I thought it was important, but realized quickly just because I do or do not have good 'numbers' doesn't mean flip for my business.
I had to find a sustainable existence (which I feel I have) and Klout really isn't on my radar. Plus, to unplug sounded like work and I try to avoid that as much as possible..............
bdorman264 All perfectly true things, Bill--and more reasons I felt better leaving it than letting it be. There are very few people in my social circles who aren't looking to gain something from it. Klout is really just a game, but it can be a dangerous one when it begins to be seen as something more by people who make decisions in real life, like employers, as I mentioned to wordstrumpet below.
As for avoiding work, you've always been hard at work keeping "social" social, and I've always appreciated that!
Thanks for the mention, Shakira. It was a freeing feeling & I must say it is encouraging watching others do the same for almost all the exact same reasons. I feel like Klout duped us all. But we are all partially to blame for how out of control it got. We all bought into their claim that they were the "standard of influence", we all let them judge us & rate us. Heck we even helped by dishing out +k.
I am happy to say I am Klout Free!
sydcon_mktg Yes, although I never truly believed they were a standard, passively letting them measure us all kind of makes them one in our minds, right? Thanks again for your post.
Indeed I deleted myself a few weeks ago. Not for any reason other than the company allowed me to do it. It's weird that the early adopter I am of new technologies, I've also become increasingly paranoid lately.
Ari Herzog Yes, I think if we're participating in any technology (or social experiment) we should be because we chose to be. Even if it's just getting off and getting on again, it should be an option. It still escapes me why it wasn't.
I think I must have missed something, because I pretty much ignored Klout most of the time. Got on it for kicks once in awhile, but never took it very seriously and now I'm glad. However, the other half of me is asking what else I'm missing.
wordstrumpet I ignored Klout at first, but as I researched and was kept informed by the news and some of the blogs I frequent about its business and technology model, I started to get uncomfortable. That number shows up on everyone's Hootsuite profile, whether we log into Klout or not, until we "opt out," even though we never asked to participate. For some it will never mean much no matter how high or low the number goes, but for others--especially those who aren't interested in using social media the way it was meant to be and are eager for a quick way to determine who they want to connect with--it's very serious. Employers, industry conferences, and other real-world relationships are beginning to look at Klout in some circles. So it can affect people's real lives.
Although there've been complaints and questions about its workings, Klout is funded by companies who want exposure to "influencers," and that's what Klout focuses on, not user satisfaction. It got to the point where even minors were being measured, and with the kind of intent that Klout has (using the data to offer "perks" from companies), that's not good.
I never imagined the number could or would affect my aspirations, and the chance I'd be offered a "perk" I really wanted were slim (Axe, anyone?). But my competitive nature added it to my list of things to pay attention to _even though I didn't like its premise._ I had to leave it behind.
wordstrumpet I meant to add here that "opting out" wasn't easy, so it discouraged attempts. But recently they unblocked the process.
I'm but a few clicks away from doing it myself, Shakirah! I also feel a tinge of guilt to those awfully kind people who give me +Ks, but I think for the most part, they do it for fun and won't be offended. I certainly won't be. Take care, Shakirah.