Perverse pride in my lack of any real social media 'klout'
BUSINESS LIFE: I am the least influential person I know. Less so than all of my colleagues, friends and acquaintances. Less so even than my children.
This is on the strength of Klout scores, which rate our importance on social networks on a scale of one to 100. My Klout turns out to be a mere 10 – which compares with an infuriating 68 for my lifelong rival and to scores of between 40 and 80 for most of my colleagues.
Even my youngest son, who knows precious little about the world and has not lived in it for very long, turns out to be more influential than I am.
Until last week I had lived in happy ignorance that such a thing as Klout existed. But then I read something on the Harvard Business Review website that introduced me to the “influence quotient”. It argues that Klout scores and similar measures are important and are going to become increasingly used in hiring and promotions. It seems some companies are already specifying that they will hire only people with Klouts of over 40 or so. It’s all rather scary.
So I signed up myself. I provided details of my (moribund) Facebook and LinkedIn accounts as well as my Twitter name and then, after an indecently short time, the computer coughed up my dismal score.
The number is apparently based on a complicated algorithm that takes into account 400 different factors, including not only how many people retweet and “like” you but how important each of them is.
My initial response to my score was disbelief. I snatched up the phone and called Klout’s chief executive, Joe Fernandez, who answered on the first ring. I found myself feebly protesting that as I have 20,000 followers on Twitter, Klout must have kocked up the kalculation, but Fernandez was not impressed.
The number of followers means nothing, he said, as people can buy them. Although I didn’t like the insinuation, I fear Klout may have rumbled me. In truth, all my tweets are put out by the FT’s PR team, as I can’t be bothered to do it myself. I never retweet, don’t follow anyone; there is absolutely no connecting going on at all. So I guess 10 is what I deserve.
In any case, a part of me is proud of the low score. There is something distinguished about being such a spectacular dud on social networks. It is evidence of having a proper life in which clout is not only measured correctly, it is spelt correctly too. The whole idea of Klout gives me the creeps with its horrible talk of “unlocking” and “leveraging” influence.