I thought the popularity contest ended years ago with high school. It hasn’t. Worse, it is back with a vengeance, in a worldwide forum.
That said, I also thought breakouts would end as I exited my teen years. But, clearly (or not) they still enter my life from time to time.
This new-age popularity contest however, is getting bigger and will widen the gap between the social media freaks and geeks. In this case, it’s the geeks who are the cool ones.
And as is the case, social media is dictating a new world order. For if Facebook is the world’s third largest country, then the Internet is its first.
Thus, the geeks shall inherit the Earth.
Similar to most of you, my foray into social media began when I joined Facebook, back when we never said “social media.”
I really didn’t care to join, but all the cool kids were doing it, or at least my then-boyfriend. And he never would have been my boyfriend, had I not thought he was cool. (To that end, we all makes mistakes, right?)
So, in 2007, being the cool person that I am, I joined Mark Zuckerberg’s cult, in a fit of boredom, while home alone on a Saturday night.
That night I unknowingly entered the contest.
In the beginning, Facebook was (supposed to be) about reconnecting people with old friends and connecting with new ones. And, of course, stalking (aka “creeping”) these individuals, their pictures, their successes, and most importantly – their failures.
Naturally, it was also about how many “friends” you could accumulate.
But, to me, real life is not about accumulating friends; rather, it is more about curating them.
If you cannot be my friend in real life, you cannot be my friend in FaceLife. Which is why it is impossible to click “Accept” next to the name of someone who never even accepted me back in the day.
Twitter is different. I’ve only been using it for a year and half - actively using it for a few months - and have more connections there than on Facebook, even though I “know” far fewer of them.
While Twitter is different, I am not. I won’t follow or follow back just for the sake of it. I need to be interested in some capacity to do so.
The Tweb site is more of a game too. People will follow you, just so you follow them, or unfollow you if you don’t follow them. Some even pay for followers.
So many people talking wanting to be heard. So few people taking the time to listen. So many popular people, with so little to say. So many unpopular people, with so much to add. It can be childish and futile, life-changing and life-saving.
The perfect mirror of reality.
The perfect calculator for the new reality… The importance of clout, or Klout, as it were.
Yes, Klout. Welcome to the world’s biggest popularity contest. Ever.
Klout is the standard measure of online influence. Online influence is the new standard in popularity.
If you are online, you have entered into this popularity contest, by default.
And even if you have never cared to be popular, this brand of popularity is a valuable currency in the new economy.
Just ask Barack Obama, the first social media leader of the free world. Or, Isaiah Mustafa (who is on a horse). Or, the 10 horribly abused dogs Alyssa Milano and Tonic helped to save. Or, the many other people who escaped death thanks to social media.
Klout aims to accurately measure your influence and provide context around who you influence and the specific ones you influence most.
It tracks your network, your social Web fingerprints, the impact from your opinion, and collects data from all your content, including how people interact with it. Every like, comment, mention, follower, and friend is used to analyze your influence. In turn, this determines your Klout score.
I can tell you ThatAdamGuy (whom I don’t even know) has a Klout score of 45, Calvin Lee (whom you’ll probably soon know) has an impressive score of 79, and Alyssa Milano (whom I know as Samantha Micelli) has a serious score of 85. I have a score of 53 – for now. Because it changes every day.
Every tweet I do, every tweet I don’t do, every article I write, every article I don’t write, every wrong and every right, I am judged. Whether I like it or not.
Keeping up with the Joneses has become keeping up with the @Joneses. And with it, comes the added pressure of doing it under the microscope of strangers.
But, in the world’s greatest popularity competition of all time, the unpopular have the greatest chance ever of being more competitive and wielding influence, because we finally have some Klout.
And you’ve got to like that.