Klout: A Call To Inaction

By: Guest | November 8, 2011 | 

Today’s guest post is written by Brian Meeks.

Throughout the land a strange fog settled in. It sapped the strength of all who took notice. Those who ignored the fog were unaffected and their delusions of grandeur continued unabated.

In fact, most people thought the Klout menace was nothing but a distraction, and yet they still looked upon it with fascination.

On this day, the Klout was in a foul mood and deemed its followers unworthy. They stared with disbelief at its cruel proclamation that they were much less powerful than even a day earlier.

It is not known why the Klout monster became unhappy, though there are many rumors. Some say that it had not had a good breakfast, while others say that it was simply a reaction to tireless mocking, but I think it was a random act of change. Sometimes managers feel that inaction is tantamount to inefficiency.

I read a book a few years ago that changed how I view inaction. The Goal, by the late Eli Goldratt, is a novel that is hard to put down. It is also a business book and the messages to management are presented in such a way that even the most stupid senior level manager with an Ivy League degree may understand. I write ‘may’, because some geniuses simply can’t be taught. I digress.

If you had a choice of making a batch of parts at $2.37 cents per unit or $1.89 cents per unit, which would you choose?

Sorry…that answer is incorrect.

This is the problem. Most people think that $1.89 per unit is better for the bottom line than $2.37, but in many cases it is not. Those who have not read The Goal will begin to argue almost immediately. They will spout time honored cost accounting methodologies and get really hot and bothered.

These people are either cost accountants or the devil…but I repeat myself.

When someone poses such a simple question and then gives an unexpected answer, the clever person will ask “why?” Therein lies the secret.

If one obtains a unit cost by simply increasing the batch size to 400 percent of what is needed, they have achieved a lower unit cost. The decision makers have also used up raw materials and created a bunch of stuff to store.

If one does this daily on multiple parts over the course of a year, they will have accounting numbers which look great and be looking for a job, because their company mysteriously ran out of money.

The problem that people have with Klout is they are trying to create a simple number, à la credit score, which people can turn to and, without any thinking, arrive at a conclusion about one’s ability to move the needle.

It isn’t that simple.

One’s ability to motivate people to take action is not only made up of blog readership, tweets, followers on LinkedIn, or collections of pictures on Facebook; it is about the person behind the social media.

If a muggle scratches the surface of someone actively involved in social media, they will find more than just a bunch of people tweeting about bacon. (I debated whether I should explain muggle and have decided against it. Those who get the joke will surely laugh and those who don’t may ask their book-loving children.)

We wizards of Twitter, don’t just interact with the tiny little avatars, we get to know them. We know if they like to ride bikes, avoid meat, have children, or pets; and if we get that far, then we care about their lives, as we would any friend.

It is the people who put themselves out there and share their lives that have Klout. They are the ones we want to help grow their blog. If they ask for aid with a project, then they will find it, because of who they are, not what they have done.

It is not to say that being active and involved isn’t important, it is. It is just that Klout can’t quantify the true measure of a person’s abilities…their heart.

So they could have done nothing, endured the bloggers who like to mock, and still had a platform that can be used as a guide. Achieving that level of acceptance is pretty darn good, but they decided to try to make it better. This will likely give rise to further mockery and quite possibly an erosion of what they had.

My score dropped from 64 to 49. So I might be bitter…but alas, I’m not. I think it was a fine tool to see if someone is ‘in the game.’ I never took it to be the final word and valued it for what it was; a metric.

Now they have added a level of uncertainty, a measure of confusion, and a dash of ‘nobody cares’ to the mix, all to try to reach beyond that which was possible. They would have been further ahead by doing nothing at all.

If it had been me making the call, I would have stood up and said, “Let’s Do Nothing!” I would then have had a sandwich with an obscene amount of bacon on it, taken a nap, and then considered repeating.

Time will tell if inaction would have been the best course of action. If it turns out that I am wrong…well…by that point, nobody will remember this post and even if they do, they probably won’t take the time to come back and mock me.

Brian Meeks has delusions of novelist, which he feeds by authoring Henry Wood Detective Agency. (Available on his blahg). When the economy went south, he turned to social media and does this to feed and clothe himself.  In his free time, he does… well… social media… and publishes the Extremely Average. He can be reached on Twitter or by carrier pigeon at the house with the big tree out front.

  • ah, those bike riding, pet owning, meat avoiders are a troublesome bunch, aren’t they?

    • @KenMueller I was trying to figure out who he might be talking about…..

      • ExtremelyAvg

        @Lisa Gerber@KenMueller I was actually referring to a super model, in Bucharest, whom I’ve been pining over for some time…well…maybe pining isn’t the right word (for this century)…let’s say stalking then.

  • I keep reading about the Great Klout Shakeup of 2011… and have yet to check my score or take the effort to remove myself all together. It’s a number, kinda like the weight the DMV lists on my driver’s license, both have the same level of ‘accuracy.’ But for those who care, by all means.. check out my numbers and see how socially inept I truly am; I’ll be piling the bacon on my sandwich. FWIW.

  • ExtremelyAvg

    @sydcon_mktg Thanks for RTing my little blog post on Spin Sucks. 🙂

    • sydcon_mktg

      @extremelyavg You are welcome!

  • What’s Klout?

  • IanGertler

    #SocialMedia: the clever person will ask, “Why?” +1 RT @ginidietrich #Klout: A Call to Inaction by @extremelyavg

  • I quit today! I plan to erase it from my memory!

    • ExtremelyAvg

      @sydcon_mktgAnd you wrote a really good post about it! I’d suggest everyone give ‘Today I got the monkey off my back’.

    • ExtremelyAvg

      @sydcon_mktgI enjoyed your post ‘Today I got the monkey off my back.’

  • alexleavitt

    @zmccune But isn’t that the point? Klout’s purpose is to collapse the mass of messages to highlight people-as-information-nodes.

  • ExtremelyAvg

    @SteviePuckett Thanks for spreading the word about my guest post on Spin Sucks.

    • byron_fernandez

      Congrats on another guest post Brian >> Klout: A Call to Inaction by @extremelyavg cc @SpinSucks @ginidietrich

  • fernandez_byron

    Favorite parts:

    > I write ‘may’, because some geniuses simply can’t be taught.

    > Bacon sammich, nap, repeat.

    > Muggle reference.

    As always, timely and relevant Meeks. Part of me’s wondering if I should spend less time hanging out with the clique that “gets it” and start (attempting) to listen to those who don’t?

    New challenge, call-to-action: venture into land of those with SM turpitude and start confunding with social goodness. Heck, I might even get an Outstanding on my OWLs 😉

    • @fernandez_byron Good words! turpitude and confounding in one sentence. I like! 🙂

      • fernandez_byron

        @Lisa Gerber Lol I try. Us and our Confundus charms… is it Friday yet? 11/11/11 😉

  • jackinessity

    I have great loyaly to Klout because I live in the Bay Area and have been to HQ & met many members of the team. I know they are good, smart people and I believe they are genuine in trying to provide a useful tool. I respect them. I happened to be at Klout the day of the debacle, and everyone I spoke with had dropped by quite a bit. So I definitely feel some sympathy for the people who are fed up. But for now, I remain optimistic and believe they will continue to provide value with their tool.

    And come on… I’m influential in #magic on Klout (YES REALLY GO LOOK)

    So not a muggle 😉

    Anyway, my Klout score is 100, see?


    • ExtremelyAvg

      @jackinessity With such a powerful Klout score and a working knowledge of magic, you are truly a force to be reckoned with. 🙂 Will you be my friend…or publicist…or book synopsis writer?

      • jackinessity

        @ExtremelyAvgWoot! I will absolutely be your friend 🙂 That’s free. The other things would cost money. Goblin gold preferred.



        • ExtremelyAvg

          @jackinessity Excellent. I’ll pop over to Gringots in Daigon Alley, later today.

  • fernandez_byron

    @jackinessity – To summarize your braggadocio:

    You’re magical and get 100 at Your party, in Your house/corner of the world. The quality of those you reach is still not necessarily “better” than the quality of someone with a Klout score of 33, but who generates non-Klout affirmed engagement, meaning and action on his blog or other community channels.

    And hopefully, you are spreading the same love within the other communities you reach and engage with. For example, your PeerIndex score is a 44. Mine’s a 47.

    So I’m 3 points more valuable than you as a person? 3 points more heartfelt and genuine?


    To reiterate Brian’s point, it’s a metric. True influence is not just what you say, but How you say it. Klout doesn’t measure intangibles, so however well-meaning, Klout’s still just a number to those who care more about motivating action and the quality of their relationships/connections.

    • ExtremelyAvg

      @fernandez_byron@jackinessity I think you should click on her link. It wasn’t really bragging. She was being clever.

      • jackinessity

        @ExtremelyAvg@fernandez_byron oh, I was bragging. 😉 He can call me on it if he wants… I think he did miss my point, though. I was just saying, “Hey, my perspective is different, because I know there are real people behind this and I think they have good intentions.” That’s all. I don’t know if the changes they made were good or bad, really. It was just a “hey stop picking on my friends” kind of moment.

        Anyway I didn’t address YOUR main point, Brian, which seems more about the change, and about the sort of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix” idea. Yes?

        I do like being called clever, though. New #bff

        By the way, I’m also “influential” in chocolate, beer, and fishing. I can’t help it, I’m a goof 😉

  • I love how you approached this, and kind of funny how we’re on the same wavelength with different methods of delivering that message. I’m influential in steak! I just want free steak!

    • ExtremelyAvg

      @KenMueller I had a great steak on Sunday at Lone Star Steak house in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It wasn’t free, but I’m not influential in steak, so it wouldn’t be, would it.

  • RussellAllert

    @seanmcginnis Couldn’t agree more!

  • BrentDPayne

    @seanmcginnis Regarding Chicago #BlueKey Tweetup, this is my future father-in-law. Interested in a book reading?

    • SeanMcGinnis

      @BrentDPayne Will check with the organizers and get back with you. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • ExtremelyAvg

    @RickCaffeinated Thanks for spreading the word about my blahg post on Spin Sucks. I really appreciate it.

    • RickCaffeinated

      @ExtremelyAvg pleasure was mine.

  • ExtremelyAvg

    @CraigMcBreen I’m glad you enjoyed the post enough to RT it. It is very much appreciated.

    • CraigMcBreen

      @ExtremelyAvg It made me feel better, for I ain’t got no Klout.

  • Enjoyed this, Brian. Thank you.

    I’m an ignorant rookie, so jumped into the Klout scene with no idea what to expect. Somebody told me it was the place to become somebody and “influence measurement scores” sounded really, really cool. I want to be somebody, buy sadly I ain’t got no Klout. Humbling.

    Although I’m guilty of tweeting about bacon, thus the “bacon influencer” title I earned on Klout. After all, I love a bacon sammich as much as the next guy.

    I recently read a post somewhere where the author said to repeat something like, ”I am not my Klout score.” ”I am not my Klout score.”

  • Ah yes Mr Meeks, not only did you weave bacon into the story but you managed to do it twice…..brilliant!

    I know some people in this industry live and die by the numbers and I understand because in my day job I do the same. However, I did like your statement: It is not to say that being active and involved isn’t important, it is. It is just that Klout can’t quantify the true measure of a person’s abilities…their heart.

    That is so true………

    Good post my friend; very well written.

  • I want more people to opt out. Soon I shall be one of the few left standing which will give me even more klout which will lead to the kind of clout that would make he who must not be named jealous.

    And I do it all in the name of horse hockey.

    • ExtremelyAvg

      @TheJackB Hehe…’horse hockey’ hasn’t gotten enough use since Col. Potter left M.A.S.H.

  • ModernSauce

    Klout Schmout. Brian, YOU are a wizard of the twitter and a conjurer of the funny!

    • ExtremelyAvg

      @ModernSauce Thanks. I appreciate it. Especially from one who wields snark so deftly.

  • AlbertMaruggi

    Yes Brian and what’s most amazing is all this social stuff is complete “organic” Glory be!

    • ExtremelyAvg

      @AlbertMaruggi We do live in interesting times.

  • ExtremelyAvg

    @ericamallison Thanks Erica! 🙂

    • ericamallison

      @extremelyavg Pleasure, Brian!

    • ericamallison

      @extremelyavg Pleasure, Brian!

  • ExtremelyAvg

    @aliriop Thanks for the RT x 2

  • ginidietrich

    I’m so proud that you got bacon in there! Did you see there is a billboard in Des Moines that is warning people against eating bacon? You should be ashamed of your state.

    I’m with @ModernSauce . You are the winner of my Klout!

    • ExtremelyAvg

      @ginidietrich@ModernSauce I was NOT aware of the billboard! If what you say is true, and I have no reason to doubt you, then yes, I’m ashamed. I am going to need to do a little research about who could be behind this…I suspect Voldermort!

  • I can’t think of many events that couldn’t be better managed by a sandwich with an obscene amount of bacon on it and a nap. I don’t know why any outreach effort would rely on a single metric to define an audience but it did seem that’s where the conversation was leading. Without context, most metrics can appear pretty groundless and of little value, so maybe as Klout resets, we’ll all take a step back and reassess how we measure value.

    Fun post, btw!

  • I honestly don’t get Klout or all the hubbub that people have about its formula changes. Either way, I found this post to be extremely entertaining and in no way just average. 🙂

  • MollyFulton

    When I discovered my Klout dropped precipitously overnight, I was hurt. When I learned my mother was no longer under my influence, I understood the true prophetic power of Klout. Maybe it’s because I’m influential about the Palm Pre Which I have never owned or tweeted about (except that one time in college). I’ll stick with “do nothing” when it comes to manipulating the numbers, and just keep focusing on creating value, good content , and good relationships that matter. I’m gonna make you proud, Mom!

    Thanks, Brian, for a wonderfully witty post!

  • ExtremelyAvg

    @dorasmith Thanks for spreading the word about the post. I’m glad you enjoyed the Eli Goldratt reference. He was a great thinker.

    • dorasmith

      @ExtremelyAvg agreed, loved his book and have blogged about him as well 😉

      • ExtremelyAvg

        @dorasmith I’m checking out the video now. 🙂

  • meghancward

    I plan to come back here and mock you if you are wrong about Klout, Brian! But you probably won’t take the time to come back here and read my mocking comment, so it will all be for naught. Thanks, as always, for a great post. I wrote about Klout this week, too, by the way. We’re on the same wavelength. Must be all that bacon we consume.

    • ExtremelyAvg

      @meghancward Meghancward, when I write my guest blahg posts for Gini and Lisa, I am a serial returner. I love reading the comments…(though not as much as I would enjoy reading your book…come on, how about another chapter or two for public consumption.) I’m thinking of writing a blog post about the evils of traditional publishing, focusing on the cruelty it inflicts on the reader who doesn’t want to wait for the book to come out. But I digress.

      I hadn’t seen your post about Klout, so I better stop goofing around here and go read it now.

  • ExtremelyAvg

    Follow Up: I hadn’t checked my Klout score since before this post went up yesterday at noon. I was reading Meghancwards post about Klout and decided that since I had mocked them, but that mockery had been RTed a bunch, I should check and see what the ‘Spin Sucks’ effect was on my score.

    It seems that if one cares about Klout, and now nobody really does, the best thing for improving one’s score is to go on a cured meat, addled rant here at ‘Spin Sucks’ When I logged in today, my network had jumped considerably, my score had leaped 1.93 points, and I had earned the ‘Klout Addict’ award (for visiting Klout 7 days consecutively) I honestly didn’t think I checked it every day anymore…oh hypocrisy thy name is Meeks.

    It is strange that all of the tweeting, discussions and mocking of their service has been a boon to my score and simultaneously made me loathe them a bit more.

  • RichardMeyer

    Why is there a need to always quantify people at a time when people don’t want to be quantified. Are we supposed to believe that because of someone’s Klout score they have more influence than others ? That is just nonsense because most of conversations happen off line not online

  • mikelking

    I totally agree that we should not rely on vanity metrics to Kloud out judgement.

    Great post!


    Mikel King

  • Quite possibly the best article I’ve read on Klout (and I’ve read a heck of a lot)

  • sarahemily

    Wait. I’m sorry. Are you saying that online interactions are like… real? It’s not just a game?

    Kidding. I agree with Yasin. Definitely the best article I’ve read about the Klout thing that happened. Love the use of “muggles” too.

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