We Are Living In A Digital Stone Age

Hunters with notebookSince humans began roaming the earth we've formed groups. Call them tribes, cliques, clubs, teams, civilizations – we band together for one reason or another, typically for the benefit of all. Remember that not all benefits are tangible – many are internal.

By nature, humans are social creatures – we are not meant to be alone.

Within these groups we have leaders, influencers, and followers. Who is in which position can change depending on necessity.

There is movement within the group and between groups.

As an individual moves between groups their level of influence shifts – it can remain high with their previous group while starting low with the new. The more interactions we have and the more connections we make the higher our level goes. If we have not cut ties with the first group, our overall level of influence is greatly increased.

Add in the amplification effect of our influencing influencers in the new group, and the numbers get large.

Now I'm sure you're asking…

What Does Any Of This Have To Do With A Digital Stone Age?

I was talking with my friend Dino about Triberr and how I feel it makes “social scores” like Klout and such irrelevant. Here's why.

Let's be honest – nothing is beyond being gamed. Much like SEO results can, to an extent, be manufactured, so can some of these social scores. And yes, social is a factor in SEO.

My Klout score, currently 61 as I write this, is explained as:

You create content that is spread throughout your network and drives discussions.

Klout labels me a pundit – I create the news, my opinions are wide-spread and highly trusted, and I'm recognized as a leader in my industry. Is this true? What is it based on? Let's look at the other scores and their meanings to see if they help:

  • Network Influence: 70 – You generate a high level of engagement from other influencers
  • Amplification Probability: 40 – You generate a steady flow of actions and discussions
  • True Reach: 2000 – You have worked very hard to successfully build a large, highly engaged network

These scores are all true, and I've gained more Klout since being a member of the mighty Jaffa tribe in Triberr – there are many awesome people there that I'm happy to now know.

But The Game Is Afoot

“Its one of those things social media geeks use to evaluate each other – no one outside of SM gives a flying monkey ass about Klout.” – Dino Dogan

What are the rules of social media? The same as they are in people space:

  1. Don't be an asshole – promote others along with yourself
  2. Provide continuous value as determined by your ideal customer
  3. Create win/win relationships

You can grow your influence organically – connect with one person at a time, form the relationship, get exposure to their audience, comment on their blog, sharing their content before asking them to share yours.

Or, you can take a different approach.

You can use tools to automatically find more followers, connect with people of greater influence, become a part of their Triberr tribes, study what gets the most traction and give them more.

It's like genetically enhanced food – somewhat natural, but not entirely. Today we can speed things up.

Whatever strategy you use to gain influence, it still comes back to the fact that…

We Are Living In A Digital Stone Age

“That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.” – Wooderson, Dazed And Confused (1993)

As it was thousands of years ago people form groups, and gain influence within those groups. The differences today are that those groups can be formed of members thousands of miles apart, and a single individual can move between groups increasing their total influence as they go.

Can this influence be summed up in a single score based on factors that can be “genetically” enhanced? No.

Should we rely on these scores, be it Klout or anything else, to determine who we should form relationships with? No.

But I've said enough, and now I'm wondering…

What Do You Think?

Do you pay attention to “social influence” scores? What “tribes” are you in, and which are you still loosely connected with? How do you determine who to connect with?

Let's talk about it in the comments below!

I'll see you there…


  1. @stevescott1 the more things change the more thing stay the same eh Steve? People are always looking for the magic number that will help them shortcut one decision or another. As you say, no sign of that stopping any time soon.

  2. I have checked my Klout maybe twice. Both times as a result of reading an article about Klout. (I will admit, I may go for one more after reading this)

    I take your point about the “digital stone age” but I also see all of this as a natural outgrowth of new technology. The players change but the game remains the same.

    Klout is just an electronic version of the nielsons, which in turn is just another method of letting people know what is popular.

    Is it always accurate. Hell no! Hence the reason i really don’t care about it. Technology may well produce accurate results in time, but the real proof is in the pudding.

    Does twitter convert? Does it get people to read you articles, or even better to buy products. Everything else seems excessively like ego-stroking.

    … That being said, I think I am off to check Klout again…after all, it is sometimes good to get your ego stroked.

  3. @dino_dogan You are highly quotable Dino. Keep up the good work. πŸ™‚

  4. man…I love being quoted πŸ™‚ and not only quoted but quoted next to one of the classic lines of American Cinema.

    Any post which has β€œThat’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.” line in it, is OK in my book.

    You Klout just went up in my book πŸ™‚

  5. @therealkazia “The problem is choice.” That’s straight from The Matrix (great trilogy). I agree with you Kazia – the scores can’t take into account true influence as there are measures outside of what a computer can record. One thing they miss are all the phone conversations we all have as well.

  6. I was having a similar conversation last week. And you’re right, scoring systems like Klout really only matter to the social media geek crowd. And yet… I can’t seem to stop checking it every week of 2.

    I think Klout is a nice tool for businesses to get a snap-shot of how their Twitter campaign is doing, but it’s just a superficial look. None of the ‘social influence’ measuring tools ca take the actual quality of interaction into account. And none of them can factor in important audience engemant factors like blog comment threads either. And like with all engagement and connections it’s quality not quantity.

    As time goes on there will be more and more ‘influence scoring” and such. There will always be people who want to see how they are doing and have something to measure their success with. But with all human interactions, there will always be a huge room for error in the results when it comes to the actual measurement.

  7. @dannyiny agreed. And I’m sure someone will come up with another score we can measure others by, perhaps it’ll be your “stock price” on Empire Avenue.

  8. Hey Robert, truth be told, no, I’ve never paid attention to Klout scores, don’t even know how they work. Too busy creating content and engaging in a community, and something’s gotta give, right? πŸ˜‰

Speak Your Mind