The first thing I did this morning is delete my Klout account. I’ll show you how to do the same thing, but before I do, a bit from a 63 gal who used to be a 70-something who could really give three frog’s fine ass hairs what number someone’s giving her*.
*Clive Owen’s phone number is exempt from this rule.
As a consultant in the world of all things digital, I was pretty excited when Klout came on the scene. Finally — a tangible metric to help determine social influence! Whom should you listen to? Why? What fields did they influence?
And today, I’ll tell ya — it’s all a bunch of noise.
I’ve been award K+ in the areas of Writing, Bacon, Blogging, and Social Media. Even Marketing. What the hell does that even mean? That’s like saying Imelda Marcos is influential in shopping or Hitler in the realm of black, white, and red logos. Klout is entirely too general and too easily gamed to have any import to anyone. Unless you’re a person who lives and dies by numbers.
Here’s what a Klout score of 63 (my latest ranking) means:
- I get to test drive a Chevy Volt for 3 days without providing a credit card nor without any validation that I would, indeed, be able to purchase a $45,000 car. Or that anyone I know would. Or would want to. I’m sent a post-test drive survey I don’t complete because my inbox looks like the DMZ and I have more compelling, revenue-generating activities that demand my attention.
- People can see I’m influential in writing, which is super useful. Which prompts most of the new business inquiry emails in my inbox from people who said they saw I was influential in writing and they’d love for me to write for them. Also, this doesn’t happen.
Ummm…yeah. That’s it.
So I’m leaving the schoolyard political arena and ditching Klout, because it’s time to focus on something important that’s unable to be quantified with a number on a scale of 1 to 100 — what’s important to me. Some examples:
- Solutions that get my clients from where they are to where they need to go. While data is a component of measuring progress, I can’t remember the last time I had a client say, “Hey Erika — that’s really a 86 effort.”
- My interests. Everything from cycling to literature to kinky pictures of pygmy marmosets and bananas. This is shit I dig and none of it comes with numbers.
- My worth as a professional and a human. I can’t wait until the day someone asks me, “Why can’t I see your Klout score?” If you need a number to determine whether I’m worth having as a part of your community or handling your business, then I’m definitely not the person you need. Because if YOU can tell me the precise criteria that go into determining a Klout score, I’ll happily share with you where I buried The Lost Ark (and the exact location where I gave Harrison Ford a blow job after I made him say that precious line about snakes for my own amusement). My worth is defined by the people in my life and what we share — clients and friends included. It’s not based on a number. How much of an asshole would I be if I didn’t deign to entertain anyone who wasn’t at least a 42?
There are two numbers constant in my life: 64 and 8.5. One is my height in inches and the other, my shoe size. They’re really they only numbers to which I give any credence. Everything else is ethereal and constantly in flux. And there’s more to the human condition and what drives us to do what we do and love the things we love.
Last night, a friend shared with me an MP3 of William Faulkner’s Nobel Prize for Literature acceptance speech — a much-needed reminder of why I do what I do for a living and am graced with the ability to continue.
Because I make people feel.
Numbers don’t make people feel anything material. And while a weird segue, maybe Faulkner’s words will strike a chord with you as well. I’m going back to paying attention to the things that make a difference — and if you feel the same way after kicking it with Willie, you can delete your Klout profile using this link.
I feel that this award was not made to me as a man, but to my work – a life’s work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before. So this award is only mine in trust. It will not be difficult to find a dedication for the money part of it commensurate with the purpose and significance of its origin. But I would like to do the same with the acclaim too, by using this moment as a pinnacle from which I might be listened to by the young men and women already dedicated to the same anguish and travail, among whom is already that one who will some day stand here where I am standing.
Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.
He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed – love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.
Until he relearns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last dingdong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking.
I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.