I Hate Myself for Loving You

I’m big on organizing and ordering information. I don’t know if you could tell from my list-based blog, so I’ll come right out and say it: I like lists. A lot.

But Why?!

Lists are efficient! Say you and I are attacked by bears. (Please don’t let this theoretical situation deter you from inviting me on your next outdoor adventure. I’m super fun on camping trips!) (I’m not fun on camping trips.) You’re carrying a book titled How to Survive a Bear Attack! It’s incredibly in-depth and would probably be helpful if you weren’t currently facing an angry bear. On the other hand, I’m holding a list highlighting the key aspects of bear fighting. While you’re frantically skimming Chapter One (“Identifying Bears”) and being charged by what you now recognize as Ursus americanus, I’m punching my bear in the face and showing what it really means to be an americanus.

POW! Patriotism!


“Bullet points” sound dangerous!

There’s a chance I have a touch of the OCD!

I have control issues! I want to categorize everything. In an ideal world, everything would be neatly sorted by shape, type, or squishiness.

I think those issues are why I have such a love/hate relationship with Klout, a service that analyzes your social media influence. Do you have a Twitter feed or a Facebook account? Click the link. Experience it for yourself.

Traditional media is influenced by a group of elites. You and I, as plebeian bear-fighters of little renown, have no control over the stories that are broadcasted or published. We could fight every bear out there, but if no one important wanted to talk about it, the world would never know. We’d die unknown and forgotten, probably due to bear-related injuries.

With the advent of emerging media, influence is more democratic. When you upload a video of you fighting a bear to YouTube, then tweet about it, update your Facebook status, and add bear-fighting credentials to LinkedIn, people will see it. They’ll pass it on. Eventually it will be a global phenomenon. Suddenly you’re a world-famous bear puncher!

Here, Klout demonstrates the moment I became obsessed with bear fighting.

Klout attempts to show how a social network user impacts the people around them. When someone interacts with you, your score increases. If you talk about something a lot, you become an influencer in the topic. Sometimes they’ll send you free stuff. For those of us who love graphs and free things, Klout’s the best.

Except it isn’t.

How Do I Loathe Thee? Let Me Klout the Ways

1) I suspect the Klout score is made-up.

“We compute the Klout Score by applying our score model to… more than 400 signals from seven different networks.” I don’t know much about mathematical models, but Klout’s seems completely arbitrary. I’ve been lucky enough to be Freshly Pressed since allowing Klout to access my WordPress information. I know it bumps up my “influence” because my Facebook page shows the posts are being shared, Twitter shows the link is being retweeted, and WordPress sends a notification to my phone when someone comments. (Hello. My name is Stephanie, and I’m an Internet addict.) Klout never reflects this. In fact, sometimes my score dips.

2) You score depends more on the weather than how you roll online.

Klout changes its measurement system often (although I’m pretty sure the “measurement system” is a guy in an office, rolling a die.), and when it does, the scores change. Late last year, my score was in the high 30s. Klout reworked their algorithm and I hit the mid-50s. With the latest redesign, I’m a solid 63. I haven’t changed the way I Internet, so…?

3) Konversation is ruined forever.

In this bleak, post-Klout world, my friends and I talk about Klout a lot. “Did you get your perk?” “You’re better at Twitter, but I win all the Facebooks.” “Someone with a low score wouldn’t get me.” In the past, I just ranked people on their attractiveness, smell, and affinity for dinosaur jokes. Thanks for making judging others easier, Klout!

4) Klout kould affect my kareer.

I majored in Internet, so it wouldn’t be odd to include my score on a resume. Some serious person would seriously look at my serious resume and seriously consider the number before hiring me. Seriously.

5) Klout Topics may not mean anything.

Sometimes a person’s topics accurately reflect their expertise. Sometimes their friends are messing with them. I’m most influential in celery. I don’t like celery. A friend and I exchanged a couple of tweets regarding its overall grossness, and suddenly we were Klout-certified experts. You can give points to people who influence you, so he jokingly gave me some, I reciprocated, and now I’m one of Klout’s Top 5 most-influential people on celery, despite not knowing a thing about it and having no opinion beyond “Celery kind of sucks, right?”.

Celery: It kind of sucks.

6) Klout hurt my feelings.

I used to be in the Top 3 celery influencers, but I dropped a spot. I’m annoyed that there are three people who are more influential than me. How often do these people talk about celery? What are they bringing to the celery table? This shouldn’t bother me, but it does. It hurts my soul a little.

7) Klout hates mummies.

Some things don’t merit a Klout topic. For example, I can’t be influential about mummies. I watch a lot of mummy movies. I tweet about Brendan Fraser’s mysterious post-Mummy decline way more than I tweet about certain veggies. I freakin’ love mummies. No one will ever know about my passion for all things dehydrated, undead, and scary, because Klout thinks celery is better. “Bear fighting” isn’t a topic either. WHAT IS THE POINT OF ANYTHING?

I couldn’t find any pictures of a mummy fighting a bear while ignoring celery, but I’m sure one exists.

8) I’m addicted.

I can’t stop checking Klout. I want to know my score. I want to put a little orange number on everyone so I can sort them into groups. Most of all, I want to be influential about mummies. I’ll check it every day until I die, if necessary. Then I’m going to pull a Tutankhamun and kurse Klout from the grave.

In the meantime, the existence of this website makes me feel a little better.

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26 comments

  1. Jane

    I had an account for about two days. Klout is… kind of an asshole. It tells me way more than I need/want to know. I am more than just a number, Klout!

    • Stephanie

      Ha. Klout is definitely the worst, but I’ve always felt like it’s not telling me enough. I want to know where it gets the numbers and how to increase (or, in the case of celery, decrease) influence. I guess I’m ok with being just a number as long as I understand how I became that number.

  2. haileyjw

    I think it’s time to recognize an abusive relationship when you feel one. I think Klout doesn’t treat you right, or appreciate you enough. I think you should dump it’s ass over the internet. That’ll show it! :P

  3. judiththomasberg

    Until I read this post I didn’t know Klout excisted (no big surprise there, there’s lot’s of stuff I have no clue about ;) ) at first I thought, “maybe I should try this Klout” but by the end of your post I knew better :) Thanks for saving me from spending even more time on the net than I already do.

    • Stephanie

      Please do! So far I love you on the internet. Sometimes I feel a little creepy because I like too many of your Facebook statuses. (Is that a thing? Does anyone else worry about that besides me?)

  4. shenanitim

    It’s almost sad that the internet, once a vast, hopeful wasteland for porn-deprived nerds everywhere, has now devolved into a popularity contest. One who’s system of calculation is as mysterious as any high school’s Home Coming committee’s.

  5. hollybernabe

    Um, I had never even heard of Klout until you blogged about it. Does this make me a backward, uninformed blogger person? I wouldn’t be surprised. I don’t have a smartphone and I don’t own any electronics with an “i” in it, either. No ipad, iphone, ipod, nothing. I’m so backwards, I’m a cave-woman, I just know it.

    • Stephanie

      No, no. That makes you a person with a life. I’ve heard it’s awesome. I’d love to know more! Someday I might even get one of my own.
      Sort of related: What do you call a fish with no eye?
      A fsh!
      (That joke works better out loud.)

  6. brokenbelladonna

    Never heard of klout. But don’t mind celery with mayo. Tho it can taste a bit munted if it’s old (I think? But then again don’t we all?) It’s all very confusing. Konfusing? Why do I studdenly feel like I’m a Kardashian?

    • Stephanie

      DOESN’T KLOUT SOUND LIKE A LONG-LOST KARDASHIAN?! I’m glad you see that too. Also, you and I are never allowed to eat things together because our snacking preferences are so, so out of sync.

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