A few weeks back when I had a bit of time on my hands between projects, I steeled my resolve to jump face(book) first into the professional side of social media. For my freelance work I have a Facebook page and a Twitter account but I hadn’t really paid either of them any attention for months. The reason behind my ignoring these two tools was one part laziness and two parts fear. And then came Klout: a platform that measures how much influence you press upon the Internet and turns it into a number. I had to step my game up because social media was now a competition. Klout had created a brave new world of digital castes; but in this world there lies the illusion that your score will go up.
I mentioned fear and must elaborate. Those of you who know me, or are just my friends on Facebook, will know that, on my personal account, I regularly post articles, offer snarky comments and correct others’ grammar. (I have put a cap on my red Facebook pen of late because correcting people on a public forum is a good way to lose friends. I no longer have too many.) That said, I do spend many hours scouring the Web for articles, clients, references, fellow translators and blogs; I know how this thing works. But Twitter was still a bit scary for me.
I knew that there were many dos and don’ts of the Twitter universe. I just didn’t know what they were, so every time I gathered the courage to tweet something, I saw a meme of myself going viral. I saw myself as Lenny from Of Mice and Men petting the stupid Twitter bird too hard, but my hands weren’t my real hands but the little hand icon you get when you can click something, and I have a thought bubble that reads, “i can haz twitta fwends plz”, and this whole image is part of an unmotivational poster that says: Social Networking: Your doing it wrong. In my head I correct the ‘Your’ and I forget what I was going to tweet. But to score high with Klout I had to suck it up and learn Twittiquette. [facepalm]
Like most things these days you can log into Klout from your Facebook or Twitter account. You can link many social media sites to your account including LinkedIn, WordPress, and Foursquare. All of this involvement in different things supposedly increases your online Klout: the more you Facebook and Twitter (yeah, I used them as proper verbs, deal with it) the more influence you wield as a function of the number of ‘likes’, comments, retweets and followers, among other things for other social outlets, you amass.
I signed up. I am quite competitive and I, like the majority of us, get a kick out of seeing a number by my name. I linked my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, WordPress and YouTube accounts. Klout did its thing and voilà, out popped a number. It’s out of 100 so by any grading standard, I failed. (If 48/100 is a passing grade in your country, I hope they don’t let anybody drive.) Determined to up my score, I dug in and started to tweet the shit out of things. Facebook too; I started populating my page with articles on translation, language, interpretation, baby pandas. And it started to work. My page saw a huge jump in the first week, up 10 points!
I even joined Google+. Whatever the hell that is/does/is used for.
I configured my Google reader so I could pick out interesting articles on the language industry; sure I was interested in the content but the candy center really was posting it on Twitter or Facebook. I wanted to have original stuff so people would share my articles and retweet my tweets–because that “increases your Klout”. Lies.
The second week, my score peaked at a respectable 62 (a D- to put it in perspective), though my effort had remained steady. And by Wednesday my score was going down!! Sweatily, my desk became a veritable news organization with the number of articles and posts I was heaving back into the Internet. I was doling out +K (Klout points) to everybody. I spent time in the morning to space my posts by scheduling them during the day as to give the illusion that I was omnipresent on the Internet even when I was working or at the grocery store. I manically checked my Klout page, and this is where I know they have really smart people working there whose only job is to torment us: your score is measured to two decimal places. So theoretically, your score could remain unchanged at 59, but it’s really 58.58–and dropping. You could lose one whole point because your Klout went down 0.19. OMG! TWEET SOMETHING! SOMEONE, COMMENT ON MY POST! LIKE THIS!
After aging two years in two weeks by stressing super hard over my stupid Klout score, I have seen that my Klout hasn’t changed much over the last few weeks. It straddles the 60 mark slipping down a tenth, surging 0.13, even when I don’t do any of the things you’re supposed to do to increase your score. I am skeptical that any math is involved, I think it might just be a smoke and mirrors factory.
To be fair, Klout isn’t ruining my life, it only ruined a couple of weeks of my life during which I developed a Twittch from Twittering too much. Now I check Klout every couple of days and simply accept it as a part of my “marketing strategy”. The prodding and alarmist part but a part nonetheless. And I am tweeting now as a well-versed member of the Twittersphere following current twittiquette protocols and everything. But if you would be so kind, please start following, retweeting, giving me +Ks and commenting on my blog so I can stay ahead of my wife.
[image courtesy of http://www.motifake.com and me]