Guest

Klout: A Call To Inaction

By: Guest | November 8, 2011 | 
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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.

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