Why I Deleted My Klout Profile

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Jeff Turner Klout Score 65If you need to look at my Klout score to determine if I have influence, I don’t. If you need to look at my Empire Avenue stock price to determine if I have value, I don’t. And if I have to ask you to vote for me to be on someone’s list of influential people, I don’t deserve to be on the list.

I had been thinking about deleting my Klout profile for a long time, even before I did my gaming Klout test. But this tweet from Susie Blackmon this morning pushed me over the edge.

Susie BlackmonSusie Blackmon – @SusieBlackmon
Why Klout scores are possibly evil – [CNNMoney] http://t.co/sisAsNp7 #horsebiz #klout @respres

If you’ve taken the time to read the post yourself, I think you’ll agree that it’s well written, even if you don’t agree with either his or my decision to delete our profiles. And, you can probably imagine that it got the attention of Klout. Mr. Scalzi did a great job of accurately capturing some of my feelings about the service.

mhelftmhelft – @mhelft
“Klout exists to turn the entire Internet into a high school cafeteria” http://t.co/zglFWEm7

“I clicked over to Klout’s “perks” section not long ago — “perks” being the freebie things the service wants you to market for them — and rather than being presented with a selection of perks available to me,” Scalzi wrote,  “I was presented a list of perks I wasn’t qualified for, because apparently I wasn’t smart and pretty and popular enough for them, although Klout seemed to suggest that maybe if I did my hair a little differently, or wore some nicer shoes (or dragged more people into their service, making myself more influential in the process) maybe one day I could get the cool perks.”

I think his “high school cafeteria” metaphor is appropriate. Who doesn’t want to be one of the cool kids? As a result, it has changed the way some people behave on Twitter and in other social networks. They appear to be driven by a desire to increase an insignificant online “influence” score more than from a desire to increase their actual influence.

So, I deleted my Klout profile a few moments ago. It was at 65 when I hit the delete button. Apparently I will be removed from Klout.com within 24-48 hours. On the Klout opt-out page I was reminded that, “Everyone has Klout and we believe you should be recognized for it. Our mission is to help you understand that influence and use it to make your life better.” As I read that I had to smile.

I’d rather use my influence to make other people’s lives better. Mine’s pretty damn good already.

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Comments

  1. says

    Jeff- I too was really disappointed when I recently visited the perks page to see I didn’t qualify for some of the ones available. They said I wasn’t influential enough on a few of them that are things I discuss & help people with regularly, but because their algorithms didn’t pick up that I talked to others about it, I wasn’t able to participate.

    Just like in High School, I would get jealous when my friend would pull up with the new convertible his dad bought him, I would get that same feeling inside because nobody wanted to give me the same thing.

  2. Kelley Skar says

    Jeff,

    Thank you for writing this post. I absolutely love the metaphor of the high school cafeteria. I see a lot of people obviously obsessed with their Klout scores. You can see it in the way they post on Twitter and Facebook, trying to increase their engagement by asking open ended questions thereby increasing their score on Klout.

    I loved a quote I saw about 3 weeks ago on Twitter, it went something like, I love seeing my Klout score go down while the engagement I get through email marketing goes up and the $$ in my bank account start to pile up. Klout is NOT going to increase those $$ in your account. Time to stop the madness.

  3. says

    Your last 3 sentences say it all, Jeff. I know how much you and Rocky do, and I thank you for that.

    I’ve been ignoring Klout for quite awhile now and there is no reason for me not to complete my de-Kloutification :)

    • Jeff Turner says

      Thanks, Max. I’m really just trying to make a statement. It is this… “Stop trying to influence your Klout score. Do things that matter.”

      • says

        I perfectly understood that (I’ve read the CNN post as well). There is been a huge shift in social in the last couple of years, which shifted many priorities as well – some for the better, others for worse.

        I think nowadays, it’s even more important for us to take a few steps back, pause for a moment, and take a look at our “real” lives. This should be a regular exercise.

    • Jeff Turner says

      As I’m sure you’re aware, Gahlord, my goal with this post was NOT to get others to get rid of their profile, but to awaken them to the fact the notion that perhaps behaving to influence in Klout is a bad idea. But… I’m honored. :)

  4. says

    Well then, Jeff, you could have boiled the entire post down to 2 sentences (and only 6 words). “Forget Klout. Do things that matter.”

    That’s the heart of it all and I love ya for always reminding us of what we really need to be focused on.

  5. says

    Jeff,

    You’ll always have clout and be one of the cool kids in my book! :-)

    I never really understood Klout but then I don’t understand a lot of stuff that happens in the social media-sphere.

  6. says

    I’ll stalk you anywhere regardless of your klout score. I was always scared of the high school cafeteria! Thanks for all the great introductions you made this weekend! You get a +1 from the Grasshopper Gang.

  7. says

    I just +K’d you for Klout influence. :)

    Michael

    P.S. Will you e-mail your list to have them vote for me for that “Influential List”? If so, I’ll give them a great set of bonuses from others with high Klout scores AND I’ll give you half the credit. What say you? :) haha

    P.P.S. There’s a book in you, my friend. Not that you need to write one, but there are those who don’t read blogs who need to hear your message. Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. says

    Very interesting post Jeff. I like to give most programs such as Klout a try, even if it is a short lived trial run. Some programs are great, and I’ll stick with them, however Klout is one I decided to pass on altogether.

    Do we really a need a number beside our names to tell us who in our lives influence us or how we influence others? Not me. :-)

  9. says

    Ahhh Jeff, how I absolutely admire, adore and appreciate you. You always inspire me and make me think. Quite an interesting take on Klout, although deletion – why even bother? It is not as though you need to do anything with it, it just kind of “exists”.

    2.5 years ago I would use Klout to measure my engagement, it wasn’t quite as “complex” as it is now, it really just looked more at who talked to you and whether you replied. I set a goal for my own performance and level of engagement on Twitter and that was the metric, if my score went down it often correlated with my absence from Twitter, or my rudeness of not replying to someone who sent me a message.

    • says

      And I spazzed out on the touch-pad… I will continue…

      In the last year and a half I don’t really visit Klout, I just think about it once in a while and go look. I did get some KloutPerks when it first started, movie previews, a jacket, a portfolio, and more such things. It was fun and neat, my daughter enjoyed Tangled and I certainly tweeted about it.

      I don’t really pay attention to it, when the K+ thing started I really didn’t get into it. To me that is when it kind of got ridiculous, like a lot of what I see in the social spaces – especially in our industry “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” it wreaks of insincerity. So I just paid it no attention, and I still don’t. Yes giving someone +K in Unicorns is amusing and makes the statement clearly.

      There is some value to the concept of aggregating data to perhaps corporations, or marketing folks. For instance I am doing a project that is something of incredible meaning to me, when I go to launch I will likely use Klout to identify the people who are most active in related topics, because I would want their opinion or review.

      I think too much value is placed in what others think of us. We need to just believe in ourselves, in our character and choose to do the right things. Integrity above all else, which you most definitely have.

      You did get me thinking about the human condition, behavior and more. I guess, once again, you have inspired me to write my own post… when I have time!

      Cheers! Love to you, Rocky and the kids (here and in Africa).

      • Jeff Turner says

        Thanks, Maya. We’re launching a product, Dashter, that will have Klout filtering in it’s next release. We’ll support it as long as it survives. It serves some limited purpose. But I think it creates more bad behavior than good, personally.

        “Just make me seem popular.”

  10. says

    I deleted my profile a couple of weeks ago. It felt a little high schoolish when I learned that I’d lose points by talking to “less influential” people. Sorry, dudes, I’m no one’s mean girl. Oh, and I looked at the cheesy perks differently. There wasn’t any way I was using my “klout” for some little trinket. Now if they were going to offer up a new Chevy Camaro, I’d look at that again. ;-)

  11. says

    Jeff, I felt the same way about Klout and like you have been thinking about deleting mine as well. Then I thought about it again and realized that I did not have to delete it I just didn’t have to believe it or pay any attention to it.

    For me that worked and I looked at it as a marketing strategy that some people take too seriously. If it could really measure your klout, it would have a happiness meter and take into consideration your years in business, your income and how many people buy what you sell.

    Since it does none of that, it has nothing to do with your true Klout. Many people confuse Klout with success or power.

    If you tweet or post one thing all year and it helps you and one other person you have more than Klout you have a purpose. There is no measurement for that and there never will be.

    My reaction is who cares when it comes down to it you know who you are and what you stand for and as long as you are doing your best you don’t need a metric system that is based on how many times people post in a day to measure your success.

    The successful people are out there doing and creating they don’t have time to spend all day talking about success. If they measured how productive you were at the end of the day or how happy then I might take it seriously.

    Instead, they are measuring how many times you can get someone to engage with you which by the way would only be of value if they knew the result of that engagement.

    In conclusion, if you look at the most popular things people respond to you wouldn’t be so quick to chase after a higher Klout score.

    Thanks Jeff for being honest and sharing your thoughts and feelings.

    • Jeff Turner says

      Dawn, my deletion of the account was really just a way of making a strong statement. I don’t want or expect others to follow suit, only to raise their awareness to the idea that raising your Klout score is not something that should be a driver of behavior. “Who cares when it comes down to it” is your question. It’s a good one. Someone does. Some companies obviously do. But I don’t. You said it right… “if you look at the most popular things people respond to you wouldn’t be so quick to chase after a higher Klout score.” I wish they’d stop calling it a measure of “influence.” It’s not. It’s really just a rough measure of the probability that content will be shared. And it’s very rough, in my opinion.

  12. says

    Jeff,

    Thank you once again for writing to stimulate thinking and discussion. I too had deleted my Klout account for the very reasons you stated, I don’t need an arbitrary algorithm to influence how I behave and move through the world.

    The perk aspect of some of these sites feels a bit like bribery to me. I like to share products and services because I find value in them and think others might too. If I were sharing with influencing in mind instead of helping someone, well that just wouldn’t feel honest to me.

    Thank you,

    Linda

  13. says

    Klout has always seemed really worthless to me. I know a guy on Twitter who basically just tweets quotes, and his “influence” is higher than people who actually interact with their followers, post original thoughts, share experiences, etc. When I was following it out of curiosity, I found it interesting that as my Facebook engagement went up, my Klout score went down. And in the last almost 2 years of blogging, I’ve only been asked my Klout score 1 time by a potential client. Looks like they get it, too.

    • Jeff Turner says

      My issue with Klout is the the behavioral change it elicits in a good number of people. The focus shift from engaging in quality conversation to quantity of conversation is disturbing to me. It’s one of the reasons why I deleted my profile from Klout.

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