I rather like the concept of Klout, it’s a website where your impact online is measured and given a quantitative value that helps you compare yourself and guide your input to increase it. Beyond that, your Klout score makes you eligible for rewards and prizes—just by being popular!
Now here’s the issue: by being measured and by caring too much about our Klout score, we forego the very things that make us human: spontaneity and error. With that can come a loss of happiness and an obsession with things that we can do to increase that score juuuuuuust a little more.
Same with anything: give a kid a ball and he’ll run around kicking it or throwing it or rolling it and having a glorious old time! Give that same adorable munchkin some rules and a scoring system and suddenly he’s re-enacting the 2006 World Cup Final Zidane head-butting incident. Now this isn’t to say that all competition or metrics are bad. As management consultant Peter Drucker once said, “What gets measured gets improved”. However, sometimes metric scales just aren’t compatible with the human condition. Socially, this is especially the case: because all that a Klout score measures is the levels of social engagement we can obtain—and that’s only a teeny segment of our overall real world clout.
There’s a reason why it’s better to focus on our clout “score” over our Klout score. First off, the more clout we can get in life means that we can have a greater direct impact on people—more than getting a Like or a retweet. It means that we have—and are—accumulating leadership skills that can help us in life. Clout means that we have followership in the real world—where people’s lives and happiness is at stake. And let’s face it, it’s a much more noble calling.
Granted, there are many people with high Klout scores who undeniably have lots of clout. But here’s the clincher—most of those people have had high clout before they got a Klout. So, in the end, it’s best to focus on the real world. As usual. But don’t despair! The real real world has got many more opportunities to learn and grow. And more importantly, the cookies are real.
And people like cookies.