#Klout me out

A neat post from @samfiorella sets out a damning case against Klout and the gamification of influence.

Can You Be Influential While Under the Influence? – Sensei Blogs.

I’ve two things to add.

First, my take on influence assessment mechanisms like Klout has been to see them as a form of eugenics; digital eugenics. For the same reason that biological eugenics was highly credible at the time, Klout is prima facie credible. No-one doubts the fact that real data determine scores – and claims to data-drivenness and science-basedness are powerful. Problem is twofold: First, who selects the data? Second, what is the effect of letting loose data thus selected and packaged on the community as a whole? If you haven’t see the movie Gattaca, you should.

Second, if the social-techno-cultural matrix in which we are all of us engaged were settled and the digital revolution largely behind us, such efforts would have a better claim on our credulity. To that extent Klout suffers from what I have called the Fallacy of the Kink. We look back and see exponential change. We look ahead and smooth the curve. The present is always in the kink. We are at the moment in the foothills to the foothills of this revolution in communications and community. The idea that this is the time for merit badges to be handed out by the Boy Scout leader who can tell who is best at tying knots is risible.

There’s a Latin tag I love, solvitur ambulando: ” it is solved by walking.” It is relevant here. What influence you have is best understood by seeing what influence you have. Klout with its time-and-motion slide-rules and Fordist notions of process definitely has too much.

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