“Greater transparency! More actions will contribute to your score! Real-world influence signals to enrich our data! New look to help you understand, shape and earn recognition!” So screamed everyone’s love-to-hate influencer scoring tool Klout last week. And then reality sunk it.
A few months ago, I quit Klout. I removed my profile and cut all ties by revoking access to all of the social platforms I had connected to it. I did so because a) I don’t see that it has any remote value to me, b) I fundamentally dislike Klout’s business model of rewarding people for gaming social media, c) I also fundamentally dislike anything that’s based on opt-out not opt-in, and d) I’ve read too much about privacy concerns for me to want it to have access to my data. I’m by far the only one. Many leading lights in the world of social communications have done the same.
And yet, I was intrigued by the ‘new Klout’, partly because it’s my job to know this stuff. I was considering re-signing up. That is, until within a day or two of Klout’s big announcement, when the blogosphere started to light up with reviews of the new features and, inevitably, renewed criticism of the platform.
Too Little, Too Late?
Neville Hobson wrote about how, going through the same thought process as me, he went to re-sign up only to find that despite unlinking everything ten months ago, his account was just ‘disabled’ rather than deleted. WTF? “Why on earth would I give Klout any trust at all?”, he says in a post entitled ‘Will Klout Ever Let You Go?’
Danny Brown, probably the most vocal Klout critic over the last year or two (seriously, he’s like a bulldog with a particularly tasty bone in its jaws), wrote about how, despite the new privacy systems, Klout was still profiling an 11 year old boy.
On a more positive note, Mark Schaefer wrote a very balanced piece analysing the new features and asking whether Klout has answered its critics. For quick reference, he says ‘yes and no’. “Klout is still missing out on a real gold mine of online influence — blogs and YouTube videos”, he goes on to assert.
But the fact is, I don’t care if Klout is bigger and better or not. I don’t care if its scoring system is supposedly more accurate, or if I can better see how that score is arrived at. The fact remains that Klout is deceitful in the way it operates and consistently misleads people when it comes to data and privacy. Maybe Klout could develop into something useful in future, but until this organisational ethos changes, we should not be giving it the time of day. End of story.
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