Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Klout: Another treadmill to run simultaneously

I believe in the use and power of social media and blog about it, along with other topics. But it is relentless, probably capturing about an hour of my day, and difficult to stay on top of.

I've been using Klout for a while as a  measure of my impact and effectiveness so yesterday I was pleased to see that they've started to exposed statistics from LinkedIn as well as my Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Unfortunately, though, my experience is that tools like this just add to the pressures many of us live under: yesterday my Klout control panel greeted me with the ominous words, "Ouch, your Klout score has been falling lately. Share more content and engage with your network and your Klout score will rise!"

There were some crumbs of comfort: "You are effectively using social media to influence your network across a variety of topics...You are more likely to have your message amplified than the average person...You have built a good size network that is highly engaged..." But it's that stinging rebuke "Your Klout score has been falling" that bites and hurts and stays with me!

Marketers and chief executives have been used to living with constant performance measurements for years; but now that culture is spreading to the rest of us, including those who 'simply' use social media for, well, social reasons. Now that social media has become a way to market our personal brand as well as our company's products, the measurement culture will keep us all spinning on a treadmill of activity in pursuit of some competitive gain or advantage over others.

I'm sure that no one will actually commit suicide because their Klout score has fallen; but a good number of us might reach for a bar of comforting chocolate!

It's not just that I have to stay on top of my Klout score; it's that Klout is one of several measures of my effectiveness and I have to make sure that I rank well in whichever measure you choose to use about me! Several treadmills to run, simultaneously.

No wonder that The Guardian is one of several sources of advice on how to disengage with Facebook. Statistics (disputed by Facebook) suggest that in North America and Britain, some of the earliest adopters of Facebook, people are beginning to tire of running the treadmill and are dropping off.
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