Dear social web, Let’s try keeping it real.

I hesitate to be drawn into the Klout firing line again but I have had so many requests from the {grow} community to comment on the Klout Meltdown this week that I guess I need to respond. At the risk of adding to Klout weariness, here are a few observations.

  • My Klout score dropped from 82 to 64. Who cares?  My wife and kids still love me.
  • Klout’s biggest competitor is PeerIndex.  My score on PeerIndex is 64. Funny. They’re the same level now.
  • Nobody complained that their PeerIndex score was too low.
  • My friend Elizabeth Reusswig remarked that “60 is the new 80.” It’s true. As I looked at how this affected others, my RELATIVE influence stayed about the same.
  • Here is the big idea most people miss about Klout.  In the long run, Klout doesn’t give a damn if you’re happy with your Klout score or not. You’re not their customer. As long as they deliver the goods to brands we can go ahead and howl all we want.
  • I admire Klout CEO Joe Fernandez but he created a hole for himself by announcing that the new changes would affect most people’s scores very little. If he just would have said most scores will drop for a re-set in the name of accuracy, it would have gone down a lot better.
  • Recently Blogger Danny Brown ran some really concerning stuff about Klout and privacy. I agree with him. Klout has got to get on top of that or they’re going to jeopardize their success.
  • Some people said that this drop in scores “proves that Klout is on the way out.” Ha! That made me chuckle.  This week, Klout received another $30 mm in funding and is already valued at $200 mm. Ummm, no, they are not on their way out.
  • Klout is kicking ass. They are getting tens of billions of hits to their API every month. PeerIndex just hit 100 million hits. Klout is that far ahead.
  • Disney, American Express, EA Sports and other well-known brands are lined up for Klout programs. Klout said they are nearly “sold out” on Perks for December. You may think Klout is dumb, but these companies don’t. Pay attention.
  • Another thing that makes me laugh … people are “heart-broken” because they put so much work into their Klout score only to see it drop. Are these the same people who are incensed when they work so hard to be the Foursquare mayor at Dunkin’ Donuts and get replaced? C’mon folks let’s get real. Go make something. Go sell something.
  • I saw another big line of complaints from people who were afraid a score drop would jeopardize their job prospects. When I wrote about Klout and employment opportunities a few months ago, people thought I was making it up. Apparently some companies believe it is a sign that you are adept at using the social web. Or, it might be a sign you have too much time on your hands. Either way, it’s going mainstream.

Here is the big take-away for me over this brouhaha. Accomplishment doesn’t matter on the social web.  Social proof in the way of Twitter followers or a Klout score matter more than success on your job or the great charities you support.  It’s painful to acknowledge that, but it’s true.  That’s the real reason people are so upset. Klout scores DO MATTER. In an information-dense society, it is an easy short-cut to determine worth.

I cover this phenomenon quite a bit in my upcoming book (There! A Tease! Power on the social web. Hmmm … wouldn’t that make a fascinating book?).

People are literally crying over a fake numeric Internet badge.  Yes my friends, we are living in a very, very weird world.

Create and curate great content.  Nurture a network of people who care about you. Be kind. The influence will take care of itself.

Now I am going to go play tennis with my wife.

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