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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://www.lostintechnology.com Kyle Judkins

    Thank you for this post! I was getting a little tired of all the “I quit Klout, because of whatever reason” posts. I like controversy and debate as much as anyone, but there has been a huge rush to pile on to this story, and I could never understand it. If you don’t like a service, don’t use it. I don’t need a press release that tells me you aren’t using it. (mini rant over) 

    • Robert_hadley01

      Your reasoning could dismiss the vast majority of social media content! How about the old broadcaster’s standby: If you don’t like it, change the channel!

      • http://www.lostintechnology.com Kyle Judkins

        I’m fine with changing the channel, but it was getting to be like the State of the Union and being on every channel.

  • Social Media God

    I prefer to be ranked by http://www.socialmediagod.com, personally, he sees all influencers.

  • http://twitter.com/cbarger Christopher Barger

    But what if we’re not comfortable with Klout because of PRIVACY concerns? 

    I’ve never cared one way or the other about my Klout score; I never invested much time in it nor saw much worth in it. So their algorithm shifts don’t affect my perception of them at all. If anything, I am laughing at all the lazy marketers and social media douchebag types who tried to use their Klout scores as yet another way to tell the world how important they are. (I don’t have as much a problem with people writing posts explaining their decisions — IF their reasons go beyond “they changed their algorithm and that’s not fair!”)

    But when Klout accesses the accounts of people who comment on my Facebook wall, including minors whose profiles are supposed to be private, and creates Klout profiles for them and decides that I influence them and thus should either add them to Klout or give them a +K or whatever… that’s when I worry. And I think privacy concerns are worthy of shouting from the rooftops regardless of which platform commits the violations. 

    I agree with much of what you’ve written here… but I think that there’s probably some leeway due to some people’s discomfort with Klout resting more on privacy than on scores. My two cents, anyway,

  • http://twitter.com/cbarger Christopher Barger

    But what if we’re not comfortable with Klout because of PRIVACY concerns? 

    I’ve never cared one way or the other about my Klout score; I never invested much time in it nor saw much worth in it. So their algorithm shifts don’t affect my perception of them at all. If anything, I am laughing at all the lazy marketers and social media douchebag types who tried to use their Klout scores as yet another way to tell the world how important they are. (I don’t have as much a problem with people writing posts explaining their decisions — IF their reasons go beyond “they changed their algorithm and that’s not fair!”)

    But when Klout accesses the accounts of people who comment on my Facebook wall, including minors whose profiles are supposed to be private, and creates Klout profiles for them and decides that I influence them and thus should either add them to Klout or give them a +K or whatever… that’s when I worry. And I think privacy concerns are worthy of shouting from the rooftops regardless of which platform commits the violations. 

    I agree with much of what you’ve written here… but I think that there’s probably some leeway due to some people’s discomfort with Klout resting more on privacy than on scores. My two cents, anyway,

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Hey Chris. Thanks for the response and the push back. As I indicated in my response to Danny above, I just see the privacy concerns as a moot point and not a big deal in the first place. I’ve been wrong before, though. 

      • Jen Zingsheim

        My issue with privacy is something they can’t really even fix. I find it awful that someone could be missing out on a job opportunity because of their Klout score, without (perhaps, although this is getting less likely) even knowing they *have* a Klout score. Example: people who join Twitter to chat with friends, not work related, might not have much of a Klout score. But someone in HR pulls up their personal Klout score instead of their “work” Twitter account Klout score, and they get passed up for a job…etc.

        For that sort of example, the only way to correct for it is to opt out of Klout for the personal account. How do you do that if you don’t realize you even *have* a Klout score?

        • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

          Is that Klout’s fault or ignorant hiring professional’s fault? Sounds to me like it’s Toyota’s fault someone won’t hire you because the prefer you buy American. Not sure I fully agree with the blame on that one.

          • Jen Zingsheim

            Fair point. But in this economy, that “ignorant hiring professional” has a lot of power. I truly hope that companies back off of using Klout for stuff like this (hiring, contract awarding), but really it’s going to take some high profile “oopsies” to get companies to stop using it. Unfortunately no one is going to say “we hired X, Y, and Z using their Klout scores and they turned out to be idiots.” It will be a subtle backing away from using the tool for this purpose.

            I wouldn’t mind seeing that bubble pop sooner, rather than later is all I’m sayin’. ;-)

            Great discussion. Have a nice evening!

      • http://twitter.com/jangles Neville Hobson

        Wow, Jason, I couldn’t believe it was you as the author of this post. Why do you (and so many others) assume the only reason anyone quits Klout is because they’re pissed of with a declining score? I quit last month ( described in my post here http://goo.gl/3Biae ) because I just don’t trust Klout, and could not be part of them any longer as that implies I support their business practice. I don’t. And you may think privacy issues are a moot point, but I think they’re a gigantic point.

        But each to his or her own. I’m out and I try and make sure any client looks at Klout very carefully indeed before deciding whether they’re worth their trust. Some decide that, btw, which is fine even if I think they’re wrong. But informed choice, etc.

        • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

          Fair points, sir. And in hindsight, yes I pulled the trigger on this one without a great deal of consideration. However, I positioned it as a rant just in case. As with Liz (other comments), I certainly didn’t do civility much justice in my sweeping comments, but I was also just bitching about what I saw as a sudden surge in “I hate Klout. My score went down.” posts. Didn’t mean to offend anyone (well, okay, maybe I did but didn’t really think a rant would be taken too seriously). I certainly respect anyone’s decision to use the web how they wish. Just seems like an awful lot of folks are leaving for selfish, pouty reasons. Thanks for smacking me around a bit. I deserve it.

        • http://womeninbusinessradio.com Michele Price

          Yes, some folks need to take their head out of their rear end.  I watched a video yesterday where a Professor at a University told his marketing students they had to improve their klout score as part of their grade.  Wish I could find the video link to share.  I will come back when I do and leave it.

          SOOOO, that is one thing I do disagree with Klout being used for, to hire, to fail a class, to decide if you deserve a lower rate on your insurance (hey heard some pretty amazing ^&*)  It is only one data point, not one that is reliable enough to make huge decisions by.

          If you will use it, I would like to see how did you weigh all the other pieces of data you used to make your decision. :)

      • http://twitter.com/jangles Neville Hobson

        Wow, Jason, I couldn’t believe it was you as the author of this post. Why do you (and so many others) assume the only reason anyone quits Klout is because they’re pissed of with a declining score? I quit last month ( described in my post here http://goo.gl/3Biae ) because I just don’t trust Klout, and could not be part of them any longer as that implies I support their business practice. I don’t. And you may think privacy issues are a moot point, but I think they’re a gigantic point.

        But each to his or her own. I’m out and I try and make sure any client looks at Klout very carefully indeed before deciding whether they’re worth their trust. Some decide that, btw, which is fine even if I think they’re wrong. But informed choice, etc.

  • http://dannybrown.me Danny Brown

    Adding to what @twitter-9522672:disqus says, while the “quit because my score dropped” angle is amusing (as in, serves you right, egohead), this post bypasses a lot of valid and serious posts about @Klout:twitter ‘s awful privacy options, and the opt-out versus opt-in that inflates the services’s numbers.

    Some additional reading you might want to consider:

    http://therealtimereport.com/2011/10/27/privacy-fail-klout-has-gone-too-far/

    http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2011/10/29/is-klout-stalking-your-kids/

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/14/technology/klouts-automatically-created-profiles-included-minors.html?_r=1&ref=business

    http://dannybrown.me/2011/10/27/is-klout-using-our-family-to-violate-our-privacy/

    The whole privacy issue got so bad that even @JoeFernandez:twitter had to respond with this post:

    http://corp.klout.com/blog/2011/11/we-value-your-privacy/

    Although that’s yet another post where Klout skirts the bigger issue and just covers some very minor points.

    It’ll be more interesting to see what happens with the cases that are currently being put together for the EU and the UK privacy laws, as well as the Canadian Commissioner.

    While you’re right that the score factor is laughable, there’s a far bigger problem with Klout, and it’s disappointing you missed it here (or chose not to acknowledge it).

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Ah to be condescended upon by Danny Brown. Guess I’ve made it. (I don’t worry about my mother being disappointed in me, DB, so the little dig didn’t do much damage, mate. :-) )

      I didn’t miss the privacy issue. I consider the privacy issue to be dead. Klout listened, changed the automatic addition of profiles and now allows people to explicitly opt out. Ranting and raving about the privacy issue is like ranting about the Flickr outage of 2009. 

      Certainly, I see the privacy issue differently than some. While I don’t think Klout should have ever tapped into my Facebook connections through my association with them, there’s nothing at all preventing them from indexing people who choose to post content publicly. Every public signal is a beacon to be indexed by Klout, Google and whomever else. Klout is just using the public data.

      The people who get upset about that are those that have some misguided belief that Klout indexing them is some sort of major episode. Why don’t people get upset about content that pops up in Google referring to them in the same fashion? That’s a site that is actually used by a lot more people. Other than companies with sucky reviews, no one seems to be asking Google to cancel their name as a keyword. 

      Sure, Klout had some flaws in its algorithm and practices. But they fixed it. I’m over it. And I don’t think it was that big of an issue in the first place.

      However, if someone was so upset about the privacy issue they opted out of Klout, I can certainly see that as a valid reason. Perhaps I should have left that possibility open. But it was a rant after seeing three different “I’m quitting Kout” posts that were basically people whining they were a 55 and now they’re a 35 and they’re mad about it.

      As a bit of a test, I threw the topic out on G+ and got a few folks who seemed to agree the posts were getting old (https://plus.google.com/u/0/106107925365647314226/posts/JvpGz9ArsRA), so I ranted a bit.

      But the privacy thing? I just don’t see it as an issue any longer. Sorry.

      • http://Twitter.com/Ed Ed

        Jason, even if you DID/DO see the privacy issue as pressing,
        (or other facets of the Klout story), 
        it does not mean every post has to be an exhaustive A-Z exposé on Klout,
        and can’t simply address the point(s) you’re making. Since when is focusing on one part of [a broad] subject not allowed?
        We could go find hundreds of millions of posts that *cough*”should have”
        also been addressed…

        Classic 2007 IM linkback formula: 
        ‘Take 3 minutes to write your comment, and make your link
        the last one of a few, mixed in with main stream sites. 
        This way, the blogger may approve it.”

        Heh.

        • http://dannybrown.me Danny Brown

          Tell you what, @Ed , just to keep you happy, I’ll remove that link now. Shame on me for adding context. Heh.

          • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

            I was going to comment further and make sure you two were behaving. But you both added “heh.” So carry on. 

            Heh.

      • http://dannybrown.me Danny Brown

        I think you’re mistaking critical questioning over condescenscion, but hey ho.

        If the privacy issue is dead, then Klout are doing a damn fine job of presenting their service otherwise. They’re still adding accounts (even placeholder ones) for people that are on private – completely private – feeds. They can’t guarantee that minors won’t be added based on their opt-out policy. They’re in direct contrast to various UK and EU mandates – ones which bloggers over there are taking up.

        If “dealing with the privacy issue” means adding an opt-out solution that you still have to log into Klout to go to a hidden instruction on their Privacy Page to activate, that’s about as complete as a paper bag putting out a fire.

        Obviously you feel different, and that’s the beauty of opinion. Many others still feel it’s an issue, and Klout’s pat responses (as opposed to real resolutions) is indicative of their bigger problem.

        Of course, the simple thing would be to make Klout fully opt-in as opposed to opt-out, like any ethical marketing company. But then, that probably wouldn’t make for so many numbers to sell to advertisers…

        You and I actually agree on the “quitting because of scores” bitching – folks like that and Klout deserve each other. As for the other issues, we’ll just disagree. No condescension needed.

        • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

          Fair ’nuff. Thanks for the conversation, sir.

      • Anonymous

        No, Klout is not just using public data.  You’re making a big assumption that everyone on Facebook has a public profile and have opted to have their Facebook posts made public.  That’s not the case – and you should know this.  Klout deliberately used its users’ social network connections to get around people’s customized Facebook privacy settings so that it could assign people who had not joined Klout scores based on their Facebook interactions.  That’s something that you “don’t see … as an issue?”  Have you told your Facebook connections your perspective on this (a rhetorical question)?

        • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

          Not making a big assumption about Facebook privacy at all. As I understand it, Klout’s practice of indexing the Facebook friends of anyone signed up with Klout is not longer being exercised. They listened and stopped the practice. Did they make a mistake in doing it in the past? Yes. But I don’t see it as an issue now. They fixed it.

      • http://twitter.com/MackCollier Mack Collier

        “Ah to be condescended upon by Danny Brown. Guess I’ve made it.”

        +K for making me snort Dr Pepper ;)

        • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

          I aim to please. Heh.

          • http://womeninbusinessradio.com Michele Price

            RFOLMAO spitting turkey soup across the room, can I join the club “to be condescended upon by Danny Brown, Guess I made it”

            K+ to you both

          • http://dannybrown.me Danny Brown

            @JasonFalls:disqus @twitter-3041201:disqus Actually, here’s the condescending part now – feel free to give each other +Ks.

            Grammatically, “condescended upon by” anyone is not grammatically correct. It’s either “have NAME condescend me”, or “be a victim of NAME’s condescension”.

            Just so we’re clear. ;-)

  • Anonymous

    So if I quit Klout do I not get PopChips anymore?

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      What are PopChips?

  • http://twitter.com/marketingmusing Patrick Goodman

    Thanks for discussing the elephant in the room with Klout.  You get +K from me!

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Cool. Thanks!

  • Jim

    +K for jumping to conclusions.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Heh.

  • http://twitter.com/Tantell Theresa Antell

    I definitely see it a little differently than you, Jason.

    I like when people announce they’ve abandoned something – especially if they’ve stated the reason why.

    Putting your intentions “out there” holds the company (in this case, Klout) accountable to the very people they’re reporting on.

    If people opt-out en masse, then Klout sees (or reads) the dissatisfaction from the users and hopefully adjusts accordingly. Conversely, if people are thrilled with Klout’s program I’d hope
    they’d share that, too, because that’s just as important. However, there just don’t seem to be many “I love Klout” tweets out there.

    I announced I quit Klout and it didn’t have anything do to with my ego, it had everything to do with not wanting to be ranked. I don’t want a “score” next to my name and I don’t want to see a score next to your name. Ranking us based on who we connect with, how often and on what platform we connect just (to me) seemed ridiculous. Um, no thanks.

    I don’t hate Klout. I don’t love Klout either. I’m sure the people who work at Klout are lovely people.

    And yes, I could have chosen your advice of “ignore the score” or I could have chosen to “have no score”. I chose the latter because it suits me.

    And let’s face it. You said yourself that Klout is “probably the most overrated piece of social data in the history of social data” then why give it even MORE attention now with this piece?

    When Klout was new I heard about it, read about it, tried it, didn’t like it, opted out & then I shared my experience by tweeting about it. That is what it’s all about – sharing experiences and communicating with others. Right?

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Fair. I’ve never been one to say there’s one way to do things, or react to things. Keep in mind this was written as a rant in response to those who were backing out of a perfectly fine service because of what interpreted as ego plays. I didn’t go read everyone’s exit excuse. Appreciate your perspective. 

  • http://www.foodtruckfreak.com Alex Levine

    I gotta say, I’m with Theresa on this one. There are many more reasons people used (and were burned by) Klout that don’t boil down to something ego-related. You say that others are mellodramatic about this, when in reality that is the exact tone that you yourself taking.

    I’m a long time reader and value your ability to step back and look at the big picture as well as varying viewpoints on a topic, but it doesn’t seem like you did that with Klout. I read this thoughtful post about Klout by @lizstrauss:twitter and she verbalized what I had been feeling all along. http://www.successful-blog.com/1/klout-my-story-why-opting-out-was-my-only-choice/ I thought you might like it too.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks Alex. Hence why I began with “pardon the rant” … This was more of a reaction to certain types of posts rather than a well-researched piece. And thanks for the link to Liz’s opt-out post. Hadn’t seen that yet. Guess I’ll have to grovel to her at some point. Heh.

      • http://www.foodtruckfreak.com Alex Levine

        Ya, I understand. In my opinion “pardon the rant” comes off very much like “no offense but” in that it doesn’t really lessen the effects of what’s to follow. This post did seem anomalous in the context of your posts (loved the one about how we can’t blame poor grammar on texting), so I figured there was something that triggered it :)

      • Liz Strauss

        Alex and Jason,
        Just so you know, someone was kind enough to point this post out to me earlier this morning, wondering whether it might directed toward me and my post yesterday. I said, “Nah, it’s just education.”

        I appreciate how all of you look out for me.

        Liz

        • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

          I’ll admit, Liz, had I seen your post yesterday, I probably would have at least tempered the language here. May have even thought twice about posting it. Certainly wasn’t pointing a finger. Thanks for your post … a much more thoughtful analysis than I presented here.

          • http://www.deswalsh.com Des Walsh

            That’s good. As Liz’s post on the topic was the most recent opt-out one I’d read, I thought, why is Jason doing this? Now I realise that part of my brain must have been thinking you knew *everything* that’s going on in social media, Jason. I guess it’s just almost everything. :)

          • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

            Touche’ Mr. Walsh. Good call. ;-)

  • http://loveyourway.net loveyourway

    I HATE that stupid conversation. For me, the annoying part isn’t when people announce they’re leaving…it’s when media sources or blogs try to ride the trendy Klout wave past when it’s even interesting anymore. Is SEO really that important? 

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Well, yeah. SEO is important. But I hear ya. I’m just tired of people whining about it. I don’t think the privacy issues are a huge concern (anymore) and the fact people want to rage against the machine on Klout baffles me. It is only a consumer-facing bell and whistle. It doesn’t mean much of anything. Thanks for the comment.

  • http://www.becomeafranchiseowner.biz The Franchise King

    Jason, 

    I read the most recent rant about quitting Klout, yesterday.

    To me, it came off as a poor attempt at link-baiting. (From a person who doesn’t need help with getting page-views.)

    I like @Klout:disqus 
    I like the people there. I think that they’re on the right track. 

    It’s just a cool little influence-measuring tool. (So far.) I’ll bet that the people there have bigger plans.

    One more thing that I like about them;

    After informing them of my book launch, they-without hesitation, helped promote it by naming me a Klout Star.

    That was way cool.

    (Even if they hadn’t done that, I would still be writing this, Jason. You know me pretty well.)

    Nice post. I almost wrote a similar one. 

    it would have not been worthy, though.

    Yours is.

     The Franchise King®

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Good on ya, Joel. By the way … got a package in the mail today. Very nice. ;-)

      • http://www.becomeafranchiseowner.biz The Franchise King

        YES!

        Thanks. (By the way, I just saw that one of the Cleveland area Barnes & Nobles bookstores was sitting on 5 of yours.)

        Which means that they sold a few already!

        JL

  • http://twitter.com/PegFitzpatrick Peggy Fitzpatrick

    Amen brother!

  • Jen Zingsheim

    Hm. Slight difference of opinion here. While for some it might have been an ego thing, I believe that for some, Klout really did overreach on some privacy lines (example, Neville Hobson’s post on why he opted out). I’m fine with people saying “I’m opting out–and here’s why.” It’s their blog, and if they have a bone to pick with a service, whether it be FB or Twitter or Klout, rant away.

    I’m fine with it primarily because I think Klout’s ego is a bit big, itself, IMHO. They are not the standard for online influence–they are a tool for tracking who successfully shares content online. That isn’t influence. Emma Sullivan–the teen who snark-tweeted Gov. Brownback went from a 17 to a 65 in 2-3 days. That isn’t influence.

    And I still find it highly disturbing that people/companies are using Klout scores to hire, promote, or award contracts.

    So yeah, publicly knocking them down a peg or two, I’m fine with *IF* it will cause those people/companies to reevaluate how and why they are using Klout scores.

    • http://twitter.com/DavidBurch David Burch

      I agree. I left because of the privacy issues.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Fair points, Jen. I’ve addressed privacy in other comments, but thanks for the feedback.

    • http://nobadlanguage.blogspot.com Vickie Bates

      Jen and Jason – My take is somewhat similar. If Klout’s main revenue stream is the behind-the-scenes measurement that Jason describes, then shouldn’t the company be more concerned about the quality of its public-facing measurement? Seems to me it puts Klout’s credibility and reputation in a rather poor light.

  • http://argylesocial.com/ Eric Boggs

    Well said, Jason.

  • http://twitter.com/NoOneYouKnow Adam Zand

    I have never visited Klout, but I’m fine if they care to index me (for now). However, I’m more concerned about your post and preparation Jason. You reference not announcing when you leave the service/opt out, but what’s with writing a blog post; building it up
    like a news conference on Twitter for 1p.m. today; and then basically
    saying your didn’t bother to read any of the detractors and people who
    opted out and their reasons? That’s bullsh*t to quote a famous phrase,
    no?

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      The first line of the post says its a rant. That would imply I’m popping off … it’s my opinion. I even said last night that I’d written something that would probably piss everyone off. I built it up to be a rant, even. I don’t think I need to disclaim every post that isn’t a masterpiece of journalistic excellence that it’s not. And I didn’t say I didn’t ready any of the detractors. I didn’t read many of them. I was reacting to 3-4 in a row that were hurt egos, that’s all. So, no, I don’t think what I did was bullshit. It wasn’t first class journalism, either. But I think I let everyone know that ahead of time. Fair?

      • http://twitter.com/NoOneYouKnow Adam Zand

        Yeah – as Meg Fowler Tripp points out above, many people miss the nuance of what is a rant and what is the next great social media pronouncement. I like rants – I use them sometimes in social (when Meg isn’t kicking me under the virtual table). I actually agree with your premise and was surprised that “I’m leaving Klout!” was the statement many felt they needed to make. I guess if the Klout team or Joe (who seems to be a pretty smart tech guy) was stealing personal information from social networks and then dumping insulting ads or lame product tie-ins (oh, wait, they do a bit of lame product tie-ins) and empty promotions that no one benefited from, then, I’d see the beef. Until then, just leave or opt-out if you don’t like a service.

  • http://twitter.com/AnneWeiskopf Anne Weiskopf

    Hi Jason, hope you are well.  I’ve been following the Klout “kerfuffle” rather closely and was looking forward to reading your post.  I wasn’t sure why you didn’t include any of the issues surrounding privacy (many folks who opted-out did so for this reason) or transparency (Klout publicly announcing that one could link their Klout account to 13 social networks without revealing that only 4 of them were included in the algorithm.)  Your later comment “I didn’t go read everyone’s exit excuse” put that into perspective, but as folks do count on you for a “No Bullshit” POV on social media, I think that context would have been helpful in your post.  Cheers!

    • http://twitter.com/NoOneYouKnow Adam Zand

      See, Anne is sooooo much more the wordsmith and diplomat than I am. Feel free ignore my comment or just call me a hater – I’m just a Punk after all is said and done.

      • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

        No worries, my man. I can take it. And you’re not a Punk. You brought a solid argument to the table.

        • http://twitter.com/NoOneYouKnow Adam Zand

          Well, actually I am a punk. Proof #1: I opened for The Clash during their last tour – warm up band (called something like 24 Carat Soul) handed me the microphone at SUNY-Oswego show. Proof #2: I call myself one in a secret Facebook Group ;)

          • http://twitter.com/AnneWeiskopf Anne Weiskopf

            What?  The Clash?  For realz???  (I skipped my highschool prom to see the Clash at Bonds Casino.  Much better then the actual prom, I might add….)

          • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

            That and that alone makes you way cooler than me. ;-)

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Fair point, Anne. But again, I was ranting. Not sure why that was lost on some folks. When you rant, you don’t stop to look stuff up. You just rant. Sorry if it was out of character for me. A mulligan, perhaps? Heh.

      • http://twitter.com/AnneWeiskopf Anne Weiskopf

        Jason –  I’m giving you a Mulligan as a Perk :)  You do have a point re: ranting – when I rant (which is always verbal) it is a torrent of seemingly disconnected points coming at high velocity.  Maybe social media has “sanitized” the rant – and our expectation is a rant with context and counterpoints.  I’ll need to mull that over….

  • Jason Durham

    I just can’t get over the fact that you wielded the “F” word: Friendster!!! Lol!

  • http://twitter.com/megfowler Meg Fowler

    I didn’t know my score — well, that’s not true. Once I did, when I signed in to see what the heck Klout was. :) I’d never watched it go up or down, or cared if it did. I figure people will decide what they think of me according to what they find important — and if that is what they find important, may they find what they find. However, the privacy thing, the obsession with the score thing that was spreading like chicken pox, the complaining about it either way… I just didn’t really want to be connected to something I didn’t feel was having a terribly positive or useful impact. So I deleted. And I haven’t really thought about it since. :) People can Google my sorry ass if they’re curious.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks for the response, Meg. I think the fact I was ranting was lost on a few folks, but I appreciate your perspective. Now if we could only remove ourselves from Google. Heh.

      • http://twitter.com/megfowler Meg Fowler

        No, I got that you were ranting. :) But as you’ve experienced, doesn’t mean people will spare you the counterpoint. :)

    • http://www.suzemuse.com/ Susan Murphy

      Meg wrote the comment I was going to write! Thanks for saving me the keystrokes missy! :)

  • http://www.donaldlafferty.com/about Don Lafferty

    I had a guy once begin a meeting – while we were still shaking hands – tell me his Klout score and number of Twitter followers. I faked an incoming phone call and politely withdrew from the situation.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Well played, Mauer.

  • http://pop-pr.blogspot.com Jeremy Pepper

    Dude, you’re dead right on the first paragraph. Now, I don’t like Klout, but I stay on it for two reasons (a) keep your enemies close / know the tools and potential competition and (b) if a company is stupid enough to use Klout Perks, I’m gonna grab the crap. :)

  • http://twitter.com/maggielmcg maggielmcg

    I guess Klout will have to do without my data since they can’t figure out how to NOT invite minors and exploit parents’ ties to their kids on Facebook. I got sick of every time I looked at my profile having my “influence network” include my 13 year-old son or 15 year-old daughter, with a friendly request that I invite them to Klout. Protecting my kids’ privacy is more important to me than providing data for Klout to make money off of.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      You certainly have every right to have been upset about that. Not knocking that at all. But they (allegedly) fixed that issue. I’m not sure I understand why people have to keep insinuating they still do it. Still, if they violated your trust, you’ve got every right to opt out.

  • http://dinobaskovic.com/ Dino Baskovic

    I agree with you that there’s been far too much attention paid to Klout’s recent changes and that many users disabled their profiles as a knee-jerk reaction. I admit I disabled mine around that time, but quite frankly it had nothing to do with my score. (It dipped a few points, but if you liken it to the stock market, then a small delta means nothing in the short term.) My reasoning was quite simple: there’s no guarantee that people, brands, agencies, etc. examining and potentially making decisions about me based on my Klout have a true understanding of what goes into the score. They just see a number and think “bad” or “good.” Klout is not absolute, and to be punished or rewarded based on a measure not always tied to context, well… I’ll take a pass.

    A lesser reason I bailed: perks. Even if I looked passed my own concerns stated above, the perks were good but not always great, and certainly not mind blowing. Plus geotargeting in the open is just bad for business. Hey, maybe I wanted to test drive that nifty ride or get my hands on that smart new smartphone, but too bad, I live in the wrong major metropolitan area or am influential as a brand sees fit. So I dunno.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Well then, that changes my stance. They need to fix that. But once they do, I’m back to cool with ‘em. Fair? And I’ll personally email Joe about it. He’s fairly responsive to me.

      • http://dannybrown.me Danny Brown

        HA! ;-)

  • Terri Nakamura

    Jason, great post. Thanks for sharing.

  • Robert_hadley01

    Wow, Jason, tell us how you really feel! I haven’t used klout, but I have read posts elsewhere that have criticized it based on privacy concerns, as you and some of the other posters mention. Do you think people are really ticked because their scores have dropped, or are they perhaps fed up with being constantly measured by companies that want to sell to them on social networks? When companies spy on our social interactions in order to sell to us, there’s an element of Big Brother involved. Would you agree or is that a Pollyanna-ish view?

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  • http://twitter.com/webby2001 Tom Webster

    I’m not a judgmental person, so I won’t comment on anyone’s decision to leave or stay with Klout. I will note this, however: I have seen some consultants in the social space opt out of Klout. If there is *one* thing Klout probably does, it’s measure how well you play the social game, at least from an activity standpoint. It’s the sort of thing that time-crunched executives, or the uninformed, might use to vet or triage someone they might hire. Like a consultant in the social space. Just sayin’.

    • http://dannybrown.me Danny Brown

      Here’s the funny thing, Tom (which you might actually be saying, so apologies if you are). Those that don’t care about their Klout scores, or any other crappy metric as defined by a broken system, are the ones busy being offline and making money for their employers and clients. So, if influence means having time to tweet the crap out of Twitter all day or spend 10 hours a day on Google+, then happily count me out of the influence game. At least as far as the online one goes.

      I’ll be busy influencing the financials of the people that count on me, thanks. :)

  • http://www.logallot.com Sonia

    There are so many tools out there to measure our own success, but having a website tell me what my “number” is pretty weird. What were people doing before Klout appeared on the scene? I would rather focus on the comments, traffic and feedback I get from my readers on how well I am doing. This post rocked Jason! I love posts that just tell it like it is.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks Sonia.

  • http://twitter.com/64rdb64 Strategy Fiend

    I think this post makes a lot of assumptions that are simply inaccurate.

    Klout’s categories of influence are so incredibly off base that it is laughable.

    Klout is using our data for their business model and as such should make it a benefit to us by being reasonably close to accurate, and handling it when it is not.

    Klout claims that they are a measure of influence and people believe that, inviting only >40 scores to events, etc. This could be harmful to someone if they are not scored accurately.

    The fact that you do not want people to quit Klout is interesting to me; I find it hard to believe that your interest in other people’s membership is anything other than self serving. Perhaps I am missing something obvious, but I simply can’t think of a single reason why you would care that doesn’t involve your own interest.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Not my own interest. That of the companies using the data on the back end to make informed decisions about customers. Whittling the data pool down makes the insights less precise. But again, it was also a rant.

      • http://www.facebook.com/russ.bastable Russ Bastable

        Fair enough, you did ask to be pardoned up front! :) But in the interest of those companies, the data should be useful. Diluted or not, it needs to be much closer to accurate to be truly useful. Fwiw, I am a fan of klout, it provided feedback early on that helped me improve my use of social media, and has always trended with my activity level. The categories, another story, but somewhat amusing. I am quite the expert on Soylent Green it seems. I think I could game the system some because I know why it thinks I am influential in Soylent Green, but that’s a secret I’ll share judiciously! :)

        Anyway, did you read Liz Strauss’ blog about leaving klout? I thought it was well reasoned, personally.

        At the risk of vomiting:

        http://www.successful-blog.com/1/klout-my-story-why-opting-out-was-my-only-choice/

  • http://www.take5interactive.com RohnJay

    Klout is a bad idea whose time has not yet come.  There are serious privacy problems that have not been fixed, and there are still minors being scored by Klout.  And as we all seemingly agree, the algorithm is a blunt instrument that measures something, but it’s not “social influence.” I do think there is value in people who work in social media publicly declaring that they’re deleting their Klout profile. (Maybe tweeting briefly will suffice going forward, yes) Klout is now being integrated into HR recruiting systems and Salesforce.  If we can publicly call into question the legitimacy of Klout perhaps the people using those systems will dismiss or at least discount its value.   And hey, as this blog post proves Jason, there’s nothing quite like a good public brawl, eh?  Thanks for posting this.

  • http://twitter.com/TheOneCrystal Crystal Miller

    I disagree with your reasoning, Mr. Falls. At least, it wasn’t the reason I shared I quit… I didn’t tell people I “quit Klout” because my ego’s fragile. Quite the contrary, I’m pretty comfortable with my own skin – who I am, and what I can do, and my ability to influence… Klout or no Klout. 

    I don’t NEED Klout to tell me my social worth – my interaction levels do that. It was disheartening to see people “playing the game” because they were concerned that if they DIDN’T stay, people would think they weren’t ‘influential.’ Klout does NOT define your influence… and by sharing that I’m not on Klout & people seeing it doesn’t render me irrelevant? I think that helps people that might need the reminder that influence doesn’t begin & end w/ Klout.

  • http://kimrandall.biz Kim Randall

    I could honestly care less about my Klout score. Have I quit Klout? No. Why would I delete proof that Klout is an overrated popularity contest. I have clients that, because of people bragging about their “popularity” via their Klout score, are thinking that they need to focus on this and this is not the case. Businesses should never focus on a number. Klout cant tell anyone how influential they are to their target audience because they cant control who follows them without going private taking away the “visibility” of the brand. Why reports from several monitoring sites stay roughly the same, but differ drastically when compared to Klout does nothing but throw up a red flag. Sure, perks are good, but the perks my clients want aren’t in the form of a free up of coffee. Would love to hear thoughts on this side of it. 

  • http://smartspendingspot.com Lisa

    Quitting Klout had nothing to do with my ego. It had to do with the fact that it was a stupid, useless time suck. There’s so much out there online right now for bloggers to do and participate in–I’m becoming very choosy with what gets my time. Something that tells me I’m influential in “parking” and “fishing” is useless, even when I had a decent score. It’s nothing but another useless vanity metric. Page views and conversion rates are what count, not Klout.

  • http://www.i95dev.com Henry Louis

    Hi Jason! It is very interesting to read. Good informative post. Thanks for sharing.

  • Ted Wright

    Hi Jason. Most of the posts I have seen have been cries for help rather than ego rants. They are crying for Klout to get the help it needs because their brand promise is something that everyone would like to take part in. For now, Klout fails on it’s brand promise to be “The Standard of Influence”. 

  • Perfectsliders

    Jason,

    Great article, even better comments generated, but for me it was mostly about the integrity of data in combination with Klout being the best user interface out there. It is pretty much inevitable that this type of number will start rolling into the HR dept of companies, recruiters, etc, and though maybe not primary decision making point like a college degree, some great work experience. Klout type numbers are already being inregrated into HR as a tie breaker on “not sure which one to hire” moments and all other being equal, a klout score of 60 will get hired over a klout score of 32.. Not trying to pick on klout becuase peerindex, Empire Avenue, Trendlevel are all using similar algorithms, but the more these numbers get intertwined into real life, the more important it will be for an industry leader, like a klout, to be a bit more careful as it becomes less and less about ego and more and more about putting food on the table…….

    Just a though, and to learn more search google for social media socres and human resource tools

    Robby
    Twitter @perfectsliders:twitter 

  • Perfectsliders

    Jason,

    Great article, even better comments generated, but for me it was mostly about the integrity of data in combination with Klout being the best user interface out there. It is pretty much inevitable that this type of number will start rolling into the HR dept of companies, recruiters, etc, and though maybe not primary decision making point like a college degree, some great work experience. Klout type numbers are already being inregrated into HR as a tie breaker on “not sure which one to hire” moments and all other being equal, a klout score of 60 will get hired over a klout score of 32.. Not trying to pick on klout becuase peerindex, Empire Avenue, Trendlevel are all using similar algorithms, but the more these numbers get intertwined into real life, the more important it will be for an industry leader, like a klout, to be a bit more careful as it becomes less and less about ego and more and more about putting food on the table…….

    Just a though, and to learn more search google for social media socres and human resource tools

    Robby
    Twitter @perfectsliders:twitter 

  • http://twitter.com/skypulsemedia Howie at Sky Pulse Media

    I agree Jason. I look at Klout as a joke in all seriousness. Someone very high up at a huge mega brand quoted ‘Klout only measures Klout’. People shouldn’t really take the score very seriously. If your score affects your business then you aren’t performing. With 99%+ of all human communication taking place off of social networks, to put so much value in a social network score is just plain stupid. But then marketers are more gullible than people who send money to Televangelists anyway.

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  • http://BasicBlogTips.com Ileane

    Well I guess “social” and business really don’t mix after all. People refer to “Inflated” Klout scores based on popularity. WTF! Isn’t that was “social networking” is supposed to be about – Popularity? I get my friends to vote and give me +K on topics that I’m not technically speaking an “authority” on – What’s wrong with that? What can I say, I’m good at making friends am I wrong for that? 
    It’s true that in the business world Klout shouldn’t count for much. Of course none of us wants to see people losing clients and business because of Klout scores. That’s not a good thing. 
    I’ve come to the conclusion that in this case business and social are not playing nice with each other. Not sure how to fix it though.

    Let me give you a different example. I have a few social media accounts that I manage here at work and for a short time I was using a free service to help get followers. Everybody was happy because they saw a big number. Should I feel guilty that I know the followers weren’t really “quality” or “targeted” followers. Heck no. I feel like I know enough about social media to get lots of followers quickly and keep everyone happy. Should I get brownie points for that (or +K’s) YES!! Thank you very much. 

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  • Anonymous

    Wow, this POV is extremely close to a blog entry I wrote a while back. http://adamjustice.me/you-are-stupid-for-opting-out-of-klout/ I had talked to a few friends about it who were in agreement, but honestly hadn’t saw another blog post with the same line of thought. It is widely percieved as a cop out when people leave Klout, and even more so when they write a blog post about it. I even covered privacy concerns. I mean, what Social Media person is really worried about their privacy? If they were, first step is throuw your computer in the river. Second step, never ever set up a social media account of any sort.  

    On the other hand, Klout is a disaster. How can you count on a Social Media network that is supposed to measure effectiveness at anything related to socia media when they don’t understand it enough to keep a distaster of Netflix like proportions at bay? It just goes to show how the barrier for entry in “Social Media Marketing” is so low that the mass of social media marketers and the regular masses are the same people. This is a type of reaction that is expected of people who are used to using their networks to paint their followers with their opinions, and not use their networks to paint themselves with the opinions of their followers.  

  • Mark S

    My 13 year old son has a Klout score of 50, because he posts “I’m bored” and gets 33 Likes and 25 comments like “me 2″ and “LOL get a life”.  Meanwhile… social media experts I know who are very well connected to many networks and help a lot of people are in the 40s.

    Ridiculous.
    That’s why I’m quitting Klout.  Not because of my low score – I am in the 50s – but because it’s not an accurate representation of either network power or value.  What a shame.

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  • Gavin Bailey

    I would actually pose the complete opposite of this article that pandering to such an app is evidence of ones fragile social ego. Needing to know such a score is arguably more revealing of ones insecurities. If one has a secure “social ego” then they would not need to know such an arbitrary score.

    This app is just another in a long line of insidious measures to monitor ones online activity. The mere fact that people are so concerned with something which not only measures your online social standing through so few online media; but encourages one to have a more active online social life saddens me. Why worry about influencing over 1,000 facebook “friends”, most of whom one wont truly know. People should attempt to enrich their lives within the real world as opposed to the virtual, that’s where the people you can count are at the end of the day. I don’t decry the fact that such social media connect true friends over long distance, but don’t forget there are a plethora of better means to do so: phone, skype, letter and email, to start. Stop putting so much faith and weight on social media and concentrate on what’s real.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Fair.

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