Sayonara, Klout – My Klout Profile Has Been Deleted

KloutImageThe 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.

Source: NobelPrize.org

55 comments
Bryce Alan Katz
Bryce Alan Katz

Interesting comments, Erika, and an interesting counterpoint to a piece aired by The Story on Friday (5/25). Seems Sam Fiorella *almost* had a fantastic job in the bag ... and then lost it when his perspective employer found his Klout score to be "lower than they expected". The kid who got the job instead lasted all of 5 weeks. Link: http://bit.ly/JA1wCX

Ama
Ama

Cool

The Redhead
The Redhead

See? This is why I do what I do. I want to spend more time on THIS, not Klout.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Gimme a hammer and I'll hit the nail on the actual head as well ;)

The Redhead
The Redhead

Faulkner has a way with words, methinks.

Victoria
Victoria

You inspired me to delete my Klout account. Apparently I'm influential about privacy, the TSA and McDonald's. If I could become influential about terrorist unicorns, I might stick around. 

Bill Dorman
Bill Dorman

I just like the free stuff..........not discounted, but free...........just sayin'.............

Spacebarpress
Spacebarpress

Totally agree with you on this Erika. I deleted my Klout account after a couple of months, because the stats didn't mean anything. Glad to hear someone else saying the same thing. Thanks!

Claire Wagner
Claire Wagner

Thank you for everything in this post, from Klout silliness to Faulkner's grave yet hopeful words. You are a poet at heart if you can tie that all together. 

Ralph Dopping
Ralph Dopping

The only thing worth measuring is your arm length 'cause it's directly proportional to the length of your di.......nevermind. You and Danny Brown, sheesh. Two of my faves both dropping Klout. What has the world come to?

Colleen Lindsay
Colleen Lindsay

I keep the Klout profile only because I find it utterly hilarious the things they think I am influential about: the state of Indiana, the state of Florida, cars, football (WTF?), horses (WHAT???), cats (well, okay, I GUESS), spiders (SPIDERS???? REALLLLLY?) and oatmeal. Yes, oatmeal. I ROCK THE OATMEAL WORLD.

jessicamalnik
jessicamalnik

For the longest time, Klout thought I was influential about sailing and Doritos. Yeah, I've never been sailing nor have I ever set foot on a sailboat ever. As far as Doritos, I love 'em (especially the cool ranch kind) who doesn't? But, I'm not sure that makes me a Doritos influencer?   As far as perks go, I got a perk for free AXE men's deodorant. I'm not sure what type of targeting criteria AXE/Klout are using, but the last time I checked I'm very much a female. Yeah, to say I'm not buying what Klout is offering is the understatement of the year.   

Brian Watkins
Brian Watkins

Good points in your post, and a really awesome quote there! Thanks for sharing that.

MichelleGillies
MichelleGillies

Now that's what I'm talking about! Thank you. I have been speaking against Klout so much that they actually have me as "influential about Klout".

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

When a platform that has no regulatory bodies can influence (no pun intended) a company's decision to hire you (much like a FICO score, which is regulated), that's pretty fucked. When that same company sends out a Perk for shower gel to "teen influencers" with the note "We hope you'll enjoy this with your parents", that shows a level of asshattery beyond comprehension. And suckers buy into it daily.  Here's to non-asshattery.

JosephRatliff
JosephRatliff

I just deleted my Klout profile as well.  Didn't know you could do that actually... and have been meaning to do that for some time now. Thanks Erika :)

Meredith Flynn-RIpley
Meredith Flynn-RIpley

Excellent and thought provoking (as usual)!  Thank you Erika for continuing to hit the nail on the proverbial head.  And make me think again about something I felt deep down but didn't articulate.   We're much more than numbers.

Angi Harper
Angi Harper

I agree with Klout that I am influential about beer. Well, that I care about beer - I've never tried to influence anyone other than to share my grandfather's wisdom: it isn't a real beer unless you have to chew. But Klout also believes that I am influential about technology. This, obviously, is because I'm asking people for advice on technology all the time on the twitters. Because I know nothing. So really, I should be influential on how to ASK about technology. I'm guessing I'd have to know my password to get out of Klout so I'm going to continue to ignore it instead.

Tony Hastings
Tony Hastings

I'm right with you on this one Erika! I deleted my Klout account about 6 months ago (with Empire Avenue for good measure) as I really couldn't see the point and they just seemed to be a drain on my time. My social media world is still spinning on it's axis without them and I seem to be enjoying it all much more now that I'm not spending any time worrying about scores, influence and share prices. 

Lou
Lou

I am very influential about fishing... I have no idea why.  I'll probably be more influential about fishing now.  

Ryan Hill
Ryan Hill

I have no idea what Klout even is, but I continued reading your email because I appreciate your writing. Thanks for bringing me a smile on my lunch hour. 

Lorna
Lorna

I've been thinking about joining Klout.  And wondering what the point of it was, thank you for helping me decide there isn't one.  I hate numbers and labels.  But hearts and souls are good. Thanks too for sharing the speech.  It was just what I needed today! Lorna

Digital I
Digital I

Apparently I am a world authority on photographing electric cats.  Now I can see where this information might have been accumulated, as I have cats, take photographs, and use electricity. But to the extent that these are the core subjects of my social media presence I would disagree.  As an experiment, I created a twitter account for my cat Spiney Norman and pumped his Klout score up into the mid 30s in a week. He never rated as "influential" but, well, he's a cat. Although he posted several photographs, none of them were particularly electric.  I'm not convinced that any of the social media "ratings" systems are mature enough to have any real value. I have not closed the account, but I don't worry about it either. I've nothing to lose by leaving it sitting out there.

John Trader
John Trader

Well said Erika. Since when did we become a society so obsessed with a number to measure the power of our influence? It's disheartening, unjust, shallow, and stupid. 

PJ Mullen
PJ Mullen

A blogger friend of mine purportedly was influential with respect to the Dallas Cowboys.  He never once tweeted about the Cowboys, nor was a fan.  I canned my Klout account a couple of months ago.  My score was generally in the high 40's, yet dropped for no apparent reason to the low 30's.  Something about the scoring system seemed to arbitrary.

adam telian
adam telian

I'm completely baffled by what I'm influential by because I never talk about any of those things. I recently wrote a blog post about whether Klout even matters. Glad to see I'm not alone.

Jeff Harbert
Jeff Harbert

I once tweeted, "The TSA has caught exactly as many terrorists as it has unicorns." It got retweeted I think three times. Of course, Klout then claimed I was influential about unicorns.

The Redhead
The Redhead

I have been trying to be influential about unicorns FOREVER! DAMMIT! I feel ya.

The JackB
The JackB

 I like writing Klout just to see people tell me that it should be spelled clout. I respond by telling them they used one space too many after their period.

The Redhead
The Redhead

I'm a big fan of the silliness -- and a new fan of Willie :)

The Redhead
The Redhead

I always knew you were influential, Colleen...I AM THE MOTHERFUCKING OATMEAL! I'm going to put that on a shirt for you.

The Redhead
The Redhead

But of course, Joseph! Good to see you.

The Redhead
The Redhead

You just login with your Twitter account and de-authorize the app. Easy.

The Redhead
The Redhead

God, I fucking hated Empire Avenue. Talk about a colossal time suck.

Oz
Oz

A Facebook friend of mine started a ridiculous, inflammatory conversation on Facebook. I engaged it, got all riled up and joined the battle. The thread got really long as more people jumped in. When it subsided, he called me on the phone and his final jab was to thank me for helping his Klout score because the additional people and comments and 'likes' helped boost his Klout score. Great. So, there's incentive to just be irritating. But hey, I guess that does count as "influence."

The Redhead
The Redhead

Indeed. And there are much better ways to measure!

Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef
Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef

According to Klout, I'm influential about the Chicago Bears. I've never even BEEN to Chicago. But I did once write a blog post entitled, "Don't Let the Bears Eat Your Business." Numbers are crap. I totally agree. I wish I could opt out of my damn credit score, too. Unfortunately, there will always be someone, somewhere who wants to assign a score to me and how I live my life. And there will always be others, in other places, who want to know that score. ("You want to buy a house? Let's see what FICO has to say about you today!") I just interviewed Mark Schaefer about his new book, ROI (wherein he explores Klout and how it's currently being used) and it did give me pause. Count me still on the fence, leaning heavily toward the Land of No Numbers.

samfiorella
samfiorella

 you're lucky. They could have picked up "terrorist" instead. They wouldn't know the difference, yet Homeland security would...

Jeff Harbert
Jeff Harbert

I'm rather horrified at the idea of Homeland Security paying attention to Klout.

Trackbacks

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  3. […] over valuing a single number such as Klout. Recently, several high profile social media people have removed themselves from Klout all together. While I haven’t gone that far (I prefer to keep my eye on the game), I’ll say that some of […]

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  5. […] thought was prompted by two things – this post from Erika Napoletano on why her Klout score means nothing to her (and how to opt-out, which I did – EDIT: and then […]