Is There Such a Thing
But of Course
Of course there is such a thing, we all influence somebody in our own ways. However this article is more about a culture, how it perceives influence, and most importantly, can that influence be measured correctly, and what weight should be applied to it. The inspiration for this article comes from a wonderful piece by Mark Schaefer “Reflections on social media power and influence”, so first off…thanks Mark, always appreciated that you make me think. I suggest all read Marks article prior to reading here for context.
I’ve Grown Tired
I have to say that the whole influence score debate has become a bit weary, worn out and
Image via CrunchBase Social Media Klout
tattered. This constant discussion surrounding the work of Klout,PeerIndex, and Kred has become, well, in a word…inKredulous. Ah, see what I did there. Seriously, this debate has been going on longer than the Apple/PC debate, and it really doesn’t matter any longer. There are those that approach this debate with the attitude, here is my opinion, you can agree or you are wrong. That coming from both sides, the lovers and the haters. In all honesty, there is a middle ground. As Mr. Schaefer points out the playing field has changed with the introduction of the ability to publish on a broad scale, personal power is no longer for those with pedigree. A lowly serf with a laptop can rise to the social media crème at the top if he/she manages their social presence effectively. While there is bad information, as well as good information to be weaned from a Klout, Kred or PeerIndex score, putting substantial weight on the scores true meaning is, well silly. Influence scores do have value, but beware to overvalue them, and certainly do not use a these scores as your sole source of decision. “Like credit scores, social influence scores are imperfect and not necessarily an indicator of future behavior”.
Don’t Stop the “Noise”
When I made my entrance into the social space, I did so with wide eyes, wanting to learn
A segment of a social media network (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
all I could. What I learned was, like all things in life, with the good comes the bad, and that the social space is not black and white. There most often is some common sense middle ground to be found however. When I approached people with my “newbie” take on how I saw the social space, I was met with quite a bit of nose in the air, silly man your doing it all wrong attitude. I was lectured often about “noise”, and how I should be be careful to not burden the social space with trivial posts, only quality content, do “it” this or that particular way. Instead of listening to the unsolicited advice, I formed my own plan of engagement, (sorry it just slipped out), working more on building relationships, meeting people from all over the country and the world, involving myself in the different social platforms. What became clear over time was this, those “social snobs” as I like to refer to them, many are gone from the space, refusing to be flexible and grow with the change that is social media. Still many others who lectured me about “quality” posts only, are now happily letting me know what lunch consisted of, or what their cat is up to, all extreme quality content, no? Here’s the though, in it’s own way it is. I still follow a lot of those that continued to engage, because along with those posts about Fluffy there are also some extremely creative thoughts and ideas that come shining through. I am interested in their ideas, as well as their lives. When I am with my IRL friends there is no rule, quality conversation only please, that’s a crazy expectation, why, because there is a relationship there. The same applies to the social media space, in the end it all comes down to the relationships. That lies at the center in being happy in the social media space. Plain and simple.
The Gift of +K and the Social Media Hierarchy
What does all this have to do with social influence scores one might ask. Well, here goes.
Vector image of User:BrendelSignature’s breakdown of U.S. classes. I changed a few things to try and make it a bit easier to read. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The social class hierarchy is crumbling down, the social media Berlin wall is coming down, those elitists who follow only those with a certain social influencescore are being drowned out by a large majority who see the social space for what it is, on one hand an enormous and powerful business tool, and on the other, a powerful personal connection machine, BOTH driven by honest and sincere interaction. Many are realizing that those with scores in the 60’s, 70’s, & 80’s wake up every morning, fire up the computer and right click and left click the same as rest of us. Elevated social influence scores happen when you interact consistently, when you care more about your social community more then your personal stats, when you act like a good social media community citizen. It is healthy to have an interest in a good social media influence score, I get it, but it is unhealthy to base your social media worth around it. The Klouts of the world aren’t going anywhere, learn to coexist, they are not the big bad wolf, nor the golden road. I have been known to give the coveted +K for any number of reasons, serious in nature, as well as silly. Seriously, why would I do that if I obviously put little credence on the score itself, because Klout (as well as Kred, PeerIndex) are here to stay, and giving someone a +K is like giving a little gift, a pat on the back, it is a nice thing to do, and it feels good. It helps build relationships, which is what it is all about, if you don’t build those relationships, your not going to go anywhere in the social space…in my humble opinion.
The Real Rules
Pay no mind to the social media snobs out there, if you make an effort to connect and are rejected because you are deemed unworthy of a seat at a particular persons social media table, move on there are literally millions of fun, smart, creative folks out there to connect with. It is about growing those relationships, giving, taking, being a part. Honestly for me, there are only two rules, #1, don’t spam me, I don’t want to be inundated with tweets with links to Uncle Peters Penis Projector Pill, and #2, something for which I am known for repeating often across all social media platforms…be nice or be gone…I have zero tolerance for bullies.
Like Sand Through the Hour Glass
Social Media is an ever changing environment, what was here yesterday, might not be here tomorrow. While I do not agree with all of Mr. Schaefer’s opinions, I agree with a vast majority, it is reality. One thing is sure, while the social space shifts and changes, the pendulum is going to swing over time, but I would bet that the likes of Klout, Kred, and PeerIndex will still play a part in the coming years. Be aware of such things, but don’t get caught up, if Klout says you are influential about grapes, then blog about grape jelly, or better yet…wine.