The chase for high Klout scores (social media and Twitter influence scores) reminds me of the chase for the highest level in World of Warcraft. Success for both mostly comes from a significant time-investment.
In other words, if you put in a good number of hours you will get there. The recently popular term for this is phenomenon is the “gamification” of social interaction. Foursquare is another great example of this.
This model of motivating participation through scores and competition is not new. Sites have been scored, ranked and pitted against each other for as long as Google’s been around.
What’s new this time is that we are scoring and labeling people without an actual contest. And those who forget that labels are just labels risk missing where true value lies. When we embark on the chase for a high Twitter influence score, we also choose to behave in the patterned way required by the Klout algorithm. And that pattern involves interacting with other people with high influence scores, getting re-tweets from tweeps with large networks etc.
Going down that path may lead to missing some truly valuable connections. For example, it is very common for business executives, leaders and decision makers to be lurkers on Twitter. They are there, they watch, but don’t have much time to spend chatting with people. They don’t have the biggest networks or the biggest Twitter influence scores.
Just do a Twitter bio search for CTOs in Chicago and you’ll find some gems. These same people generally have very valuable networks off-line, are brilliant, and may make for fantastic business and personal connections. But to the Klout chaser they may appear to not have as much value. So I’m not saying stop tweeting. Not at all. I love social media. I believe in the good it can bring to people and the value it can bring to businesses.
Also, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t pay attention to Twitter influence or Klout scores. They have their place in your social media strategy (a discussion topic for another time). What I’m saying is,we shouldn’t get blinded by Klout scores to where we actually forget to appreciate the beauty in Twitter’s diversity. We should also not forget to connect with people instead of trying to connect with Klout scores. I continue to put in a good number of social media hours but I have to constantly remind myself that life and business are more than just being online.
There is a point of diminishing returns. A point past which each hour spent online delivers very little on top of the results you would see with regular use. When we can recognize where that point is we will recognize it is time to take it offline.
And by mixing the online connections with offline connection we’ll maximize the value we can get from social networking much more than chasing a Klout score will. What are your thoughts on the value of influence scores? I’ll leave you with a few South Park World of Warcraft laughs: South Park – Make Love Not Warcraft
thx @manamica for making me fear the worldofwarcraftization of the internet. http://t.co/kMVG1DGz (link to great article) #klout
"Farming" for influence. Ha ha
Ok, I admit...I've looked at my Klout score a time or two, ok or more. But more than anything else I look at the interactions I have with people and what "value" I get from that. Most often the most valuable interactions I have had are with people with low Klout scores so I don't put much thought into it myself.
too good! I was told to avoid too much wow lingo because my readers wouldn't get it. But I was waiting for someone to throw that in. yes it's like farming for influence. :)
I agree, there is great value in seeking people and interacting with them based on who they truly are, not necessarily their Klout score.
Are you referring to the Klout Perks promos? What amazes me about those is that they don't seem to target by anything else but by Klout score. I got a packet for this children's show once, well I don't have any children. I got another packet for a cop show with all men's stuff and I'm not a dude... Just because we're all doing "social media" now doesn't mean that we have to throw everything else we know about marketing out the window. Well defined targeting criteria still apply.
Even though it may not be "cool" to admit it, I do care about my Klout score. I don't employ any crazy tactics to try to get higher & higher but if it dips, I definitely notice. Maybe that does affect my SM behavior when it does dip. I think your assessment is right on. Klout matters but let's not put all our eggs in one basket. If you embrace Twitter and use it for what it's best for - connecting and conversing with people - the Klout will come. It's a natural extension. It's kind of like "black hat" SEO vs organic SEO, I think.
On another note, speaking of "gamification," Seth Priebatsch, the founder of SCVNGR, gave a well-received keynote at SXSW about gamification. I only caught the tail end but have been meaning to find video of the keynote somewhere. Maybe you saw the articles already? If not, here's one: http://www.webpronews.com/58726-2011-03
Thanks Tony! I certainly notice my Klout score and others'. It's unavoidable. We are presented with these scores at every turn. Unlike SEO though we cannot connect the Klout score to behavior yet. We assume that it's there but we can't definitely show the connection. For example, if I rank high for "digital marketing Chicago" and get traffic from it I will know it. But we can't yet measure how many people follow us on Twitter because of our Klout score, or how may take any particular action, such as visit our website. So I think these tools will be a lot more valuable once everything becomes a bit more integrated, and particularly integrated with analytics tools.
Thanks for linking to the Priebatsch article. I only saw the article as I was writing this post. I asked for feedback from a confidant and he pointed me to the keynote as well. I wonder if there's a way to find more details from the keynote itself? I'm sure there was a lot more to learn from it than just what this article covered.
There are some clips of his keynote on YouTube. Search for "Seth Priebatsch SXSW keynote." They're not the best quality, unfortunately, and may not be complete. If you do end up YouTube-ing it, search for Gary Vaynerchuk's SXSW keynote as well. It was fantastic.