Klout is Bullshit!

VB Rant Week

7 Bitchy Posts in 7 Angry Days

Rant the fifth: Klout is Bullshit!

klout screenshot

I had such a “nice” time yesterday letting someone else do my ranting for me, that I thought I’d do one more day of, hahaha, “guest ranting” before I get back to my own complaint writing.

As with yesterday, I’ve found someone who has articulated my feelings not just better, but more powerfully than I even realized I held them. But now that it’s been said… I have no doubt about it…

Klout is Bullshit!

Four days ago Enrique Gutierrez wrote on TechZulu, Take Back Your Internet, Leave Klout


What I so love about Enrique’s article — Klout’s already gotten plenty of coverage: a lot of love, and more recently a lot of hate, but Enrique’s argument isn’t whether they’ve got the privacy controls right or whether their algorithm is effective or whether there’s a better trick for monetizing web content & structure, rather, he argues that Klout isn’t the web “we” wanted. Or at least not the web that “he” wants… and I’m so with him!

You now have permission to leave this blog and read his article. Then, if you can still remember how you got there… you can come back here for the rest of my sub-rant. 🙂

Back already?


I didn’t actually think you’d be back! — hahaha — come on Vaneeesa! Show a little confidence! Sheesh!

klout screenshot

Before I blab any further, I have to go do the thing that Enrique challenged me to do… uggh… kk… here it comes…

Some women are not fond of the “b” word. In fact, Agnes wrote a whole (way funnier than I’ve ever been) post about it right here on I Rez

Personally, I sort of am fond of the B-word. Not to have some guy drown and marginalize me with it, but as a snarky term of endearment toward a friend. I’d never presume to call a gay guy a “fag,” but I do know gay guys who call each other “fag” and it can be a charmingly “disrespectful,” bullshit cutting, term of affection. Anyway, I have been known to enjoy the B-word. I, however, am not fond of the W-word, yet it seems necessary to explain the challenge Enrique’s simple request to delete your Klout account poses for me… so here goes…

My name is Vaneeesa Anne Blaylock, and I am a Web2.0 whore.”

I guess it all started as an admirable inquisitiveness about our new media landscape. So when a new platform came across my screen, I wanted to understand its dynamics, and I’d always sign-up. Perhaps many addictions begin with an “admirable inquisitiveness,” IDK.

It seems to have evolved into a “she who dies with the most websites wins” hoarding of logins. Nobody has time to invest in that many sites. Or even to really explore them. But somehow, having “one less” just viscerally hits me wrong. Clearly I need to be reprogrammed!

I don’t spend much time on Facebook, I do spend a fair chunk of time on Twitter, and since Twitter is so much about links, it’s sort of hard even to say how much time you spend “on Twitter:” there’s the actual reading & posting of Tweets, and then there’s all the blog posts and videos they take you to. I could spend a whole day just looping from Twitter to WordPress to YouTube and back to Twitter again.

Recently I’ve gotten excited about two sites that I discovered some time ago, but never really invested in: Academia.edu and Contemporary Performance Network.



I actually don’t know if the communities there have reached enough of a critical mass to sustain a vibrant dialog or not. But I think it’s very worth my finding out.

Ironically, as I noted on Contemporary Performance Network yesterday, the entire “real” Contemporary Performance Network has 2,839 members, but its Facebook page has 6,643!?

Ultimately I don’t think that Facebook or many other sites are “evil” or even “useless,” but I do think that more time on sites like Academia.edu or Contemporary Performance Network and less or no time on sites like Klout will probably lead to better discussion, richer careers, hopefully more compelling art, and if we’re lucky, ultimately, a more engaged, informed, examined, and self-aware culture.

For most sites, doing what we all do naturally, just not going there anymore, is sufficient. But since Enrique “challenged” me… here it comes… I am deleting my Klout account! And, OMG, has anyone ever rambled more before just going and deleting an account!?


Klout, like various other sites offers you “points,” and peeps love to “game” this. Partly for actually usable “status” and partly for the “fun” of it. You could even argue that Klout points are better than Foursquare or Plurk points because although they can be gamed, they are not a game! 🙂

What I hope, and what I think Enrique’s challenged us to do, is to create a culture that’s actually about ideas, and not one that’s simply about status and commodities.

That’s really important… say it with me, won’t you?

to create a culture that’s actually about ideas, and not one that’s simply about status and commodities.

All these “points” sites, I admit, are “fun”… I don’t really begrudge you… or me… “fun” online… but my primary focus is to explore the art and culture of the 21st century… I hope that is fun… but I also hope it goes deeper than a “game.”

One thing I have increasingly come to believe, here in our post-wikileaks world, is that you can either have free speech or free beer.

The basic “value proposition” of the contemporary world is that when you get a “free” (as in beer) service that you are not the customer, you are the content, and someone else is the customer. Someone else is the one who’s “always right” and your life is the widget to be kicked and stretched to fit the client’s needs and the provider’s desire for massive monetization of their product.

The solution I see to all this is a very, for our culture, counterintuitive idea… that we should pay actual money for things we value and use a lot of.

Remember that inspiring Wikileaks Mastercard commercial? Notice they didn’t say:

Hosting all this content on Google Docs, zero dollars.

In a culture where we’re happy to become indentured servants to phone companies for the privilege of a discount on our overpriced smart phones I don’t really expect to see a lot of us choosing to pay for things that “you can get for free.” Still…

Free Beer… is nice… if it exists.

Free Speech… is essential to our way of life.

I deleted my Klout account today and I feel better already.

Klout is Bullshit!

As a virtual public artist my work invites avatar communities to express their identity, explore their culture, and demand their civil rights.

3 thoughts on “Klout is Bullshit!

  1. My Klout Score was 63 two weeks ago, before I started calling bullshit on Klout over Twitter. Klout claimed Tateru Nino was influential about “Prisons” although Tateru claims she’s never been in one, never talked about them on her blog or Twitter and hasn’t a clue.

    Likewise, my Klout said I was “influential” and “knowledgeable” about “Tea Party” when I’ve had like 4 tweets mentioning them Retweeted (and this is how Klout works). I’ve had like a zillion mentioning “Occupy Wall Street” but I guess that’s not a category… I’ve had many tweets RT’d about networking, SOPA, Second Life, Inworldz and etc. but none of them show up in the “metrics.”

    Watching people game the systems (which I am for, btw) just shows how ridiculous such “metrics” are. This is no more than it was in 1995-1999 with people gaming hit counters, Google rankings and “badges.” Unless you have webverts all over your page to kick you back some $$$ from Google AdSense of course; which is what it’s all about; an endless circle-jerk between “monetizers” making yet another bullshit “bubble” and scratching each other’s backs, inculcating a culture where your interests, friends and connections are nothing more than counters in a game of Monopoly.

    I hold different views, much older, about the possibilities for the nets, and the web and the rest of the communications that go on electronically. To me, places like Klout are simply whorehouses, offering me a chance to wear some sparklies in return for being paraded naked on a platform and sold to the highest bidder. Buying into these kinds of games supports that view of what the internet and the communications revolution is about and I won’t do it.

    I suppose this doesn’t make me “popular” but then again, a whore is only as “popular” as her Johns make her, and I’m not very interested in that kind of high-school, back-alley popularity. I prefer my personal integrity.

    1. ps: after reluctantly forking over my very personal data to Klout to see if their “rewards” were bullshit, I have not received either notification nor the actual Windows 7 phone “awarded” to me for my 63 score… which is when I started calling bullshit on Klout with the related 20 pt drop in “score” so take that as you will.

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