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Jason Falls

The Klout Debate: Should You Stay or Should You Go and Does It Matter?


Klout has never not been controversial, but recently, users got their unmentionables in a twist over algorithm changes that caused just about every score to drop, some more significantly than others. Some people were upset about the changes, but I saw even more people upset that others care about the changes. In the past few months, I’ve seen more people virtually yelling, “Klout doesn’t matter!” than yelling about any other topic. And in this industry, people like to yell, so that’s saying something.

Klout’s also been under fire recently for creating profiles for any user interacting with another Klout user on Facebook – but they didn’t have age verification in place, which means they created profiles for countless minors. Partially as a response to that incident (and partially, I suspect, because users were asking for it), the company also made it easy and clear top opt out of Klout, even if you wanted a profile in the past.

And so began the wave of opting out. There’s no shortage of people willing to talk about why they’re doing it, and why they think you should as well.

The line has been drawn in the sand – Klout users and non-users. For transparency sake, I want to note that I am still a Klout user as of writing this post, though I wouldn’t classify myself as an avid user, since I only remember to log in a few times a month. I’m firmly a fence-sitter on this one – but I think I might be in the minority.

Let’s Quit Klout: The Grand Exit

I think the need to quit Klout, at least for many people, can be neatly summed up in a recent post by Liz Strauss entitled, “Klout, My Story & Why Opting Out Was My Only Choice.” In the post, Liz writes,

People who had started using their measure, who had trusted it enough to include it in their client work, woke up one morning to find Klout had changed the algorithm without notice and with abandon.

It was at best a naive decision to move without thought to the people who were building on what Klout offered. Those people who were putting Klout scores in their marketing plans and on their resumes were building Klout’s credibility.

Still I stuck with them, because who hasn’t made a bad decision, especially when starting something new? But I watched with new interest in what they would do.

I became more aware that my data, your data, our stories are their product and they seemed to become less aware of the responsibility that might come with a offering product like that.

The Klout perks I was offered — especially the invitation to audition for the X-Factor — were all about my number not me. The additional unannounced tweaks to the algorithm that made it unpredictable and unstable did more damage to a sense of credibility.

What I think it most valid about Liz’s argument is that if the numbers are constantly shifting and the data is never full correct, those who use these numbers to rate you or form opinions about you are going to be doing so without proper data. I’m the same today as I am tomorrow, but my score might drop significantly as a result of an algorithm change. That’s not a very fair way for a potential employer, client, or advertiser to rate my social media value.

In other words, having a Klout score is an invitation for those getting to know you professionally or personally to be lazy – and it might not be to your advantage.

Klout Doesn’t Matter

On the other side of the debate, you don’t exactly have the opposite opinion. Instead of people championing for Klout (which is a sentiment I don’t see often), you have people exasperatingly arguing that Klout doesn’t matter and that the only thing these numbers are doing is giving people who otherwise don’t really matter an inflated sense of ego. The people on this side of the argument aren’t exactly encouraging you to continue using Klout. Instead, they’re encouraging you to stop ranting about it or making proclamations of your need to quit.

A very good example of someone on this side of the argument is Jason Falls, who recently write, “Please Don’t Quit Klout. Or At Least Don’t Announce It.” In this post, he writes,

And canceling your Klout account means nothing other than you were upset your score went down. The algorithm changes attacked your sense of self-worth and you can’t face another day being a 37 rather than a 42.

Guess what? 99.9 percent of the people you really care about in the world don’t measure you with a number. Neither do most people who have half a brain. So why be a 0.1 per center? Ignore the score.

Jason goes on to make a very good point that if people leave Klout (as they have been doing recently), the platform is even less useful than it is now. Measuring tools like Klout need data to be successful. If you really don’t care about your score, don’t care about it…but don’t ruin things for people who do find use in the score. Or, at the very least, stop belittling them with a “I’m better than you because I don’t care about Klout” attitude (something that I don’t think Liz has, by the way, just so we’re clear).

The Klout Advantage

What I think is interesting about this debate is that everyone seems to be talking about how others are perceiving their Klout scores and few people are actually talking about how they’re looking at their own score. That’s how I’ve always used Klout, and why I’m hesitant to leave. I find it extremely useful in this way – in fact, I’m going to write a post for tomorrow about how I use Klout that you might be interested in reading.

In any case, I find the whole Klout debate one of the most important and interesting topics in our industry right now. Which side are you taking? Are you still using Klout or did you quit?

2 Minutes of Jason Falls: Why He’ll Never Miss a BlogWorld Event


Session: No Bullshit Social Media
Speaker: Jason Falls

At BlogWorld LA, Jason Falls will be presenting a topic associated with his first book, No Bullshit Social Media. Specifically, he plans to talk about the practices that social media consultants have recommend over the years and he’s going to call bullsh*t on it.

Jason, who reveals he plans never to miss a BlogWorld event, suggests you joins us because you get the best of both worlds – fantastic content AND networking.

Hear what else he has to say:


BlogWorld LA Speaker, Jason Falls gives a preview of what’s to come.  See all Speakers here.

You Shouldn’t Curse In Blog Posts, Damnit


… by Jason Falls

When I was in seventh grade I was kicked out of math class for expressing my frustration to the teacher about being unfairly called on for talking by using an expletive. My point was to underline the frustration that not only was I not talking, but the person sitting in front of me knew he was getting me in trouble by acting out. Her reaction was to throw me out of class and send me to the principal’s office where I would certainly be spanked.

And I was. Yes kids, there was a time when you actually had to pay for your crimes in schools. All you time-out generation punks can kiss my slightly more flattened ass.

While I’ll be the first to admit that wasn’t the first nor the last time my potty mouth has gotten me in trouble, I’ve never considered swear words to be off-limits in how I talk to people, how I write and certainly not how I blog. They’re part of my personality.

Don’t get me wrong — when I’m around people I’ve met for the first time, I’m not sure if they’re comfortable with salty language. I am capable of behaving. There is something to be said for a little tact now and then. But for me, an S-word here or even and F-word there are like interjections. POW! They hit you a little harder and emphasize the things you’re trying to say in a powerful, yet admittedly unpolished way.

Foul language for most people is a black or white issue. If it’s a swear word, it’s off limits. If it’s not, then it is acceptable. But few people ever take the context into play. I love Chris Rock’s standup-comedy bit about using the N-word. While I won’t rehash it, and frankly the N-word is one that more commonly turns me off than other words regardless of context, the point is true. No single word is always bad. If used in context, it brings depth to the conversation.

While I don’t intentionally carry the banner of foul-mouthed social media guy … okay, maybe I do since I named my book No Bullshit Social Media … I don’t walk away from who I am. And who I am is someone who speaks what’s on his mind, even if it hasn’t been edited or cleaned out with soap.

So when I blog, I have the same approach. If the word makes sense to use, if it serves as an appropriate interjection or punch line to a point, I use it. I don’t enter each post thinking, “What swear word will I use today.” But if it compliments the prose, I don’t steer away.

Sure, there are those that think in doing so I scare off businesses and brand that might be thinking of hiring me. There’s validity to that point. But if a client is going to be upset because I utter a swear word now and then, the relationship isn’t going to go very far anyway, right?

As best I can tell, none off the things I do for a living … write books, speak at conferences, advise companies on content and marketing strategies and produce information and education products … are end sum games. If someone doesn’t want to buy my book, they don’t have to. There will be plenty of people out there who will and not get hung up with the word “Bullshit” on the cover. The same is true for the other services I offer.

So why paint myself into a corner being something I’m not when the truth will always come out in the end?

And you thought I was going to end by saying a more bawdy version of, “screw ’em!” Didn’t ya?

What are your thoughts on the subject? Join me tonight at #BWEchat on Twitter at 9:00 EST. We’ll be discussing Swearing in Social Media and I’ll be joined by Marcus Sheridan of Sales Lion.

Jason Falls is the CEO of Social Media Explorer, a digital marketing and social media information and education products company. His new book No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and retail book stores everywhere.

How To Monetize Your Blog; A Gary V Post You Must See!


I just had a great conversation with @Jason Falls from Social Media Explorer and had to write this post.   We were just talking about how some smallish (1,500 to 2,000 readers a day) but high quality niche blogs kept trying to pitch him to get a world wide brand to advertise on their blogs.

Jason finally explained that while the blog may be high quality and a perfectly targeted niche, his client was not going to spend $5,000 to advertise on their site. His client spends $500,000 or more on media buys. It simply doesn’t work logistically for them to spend that small amount of money on a media buy.  Jason advised them to start a network with other blogs in their niche, combine their demographics and then pitch the client.

While he was telling me this story (which is great advice for any niche market blog btw) he mentioned a video that Gary V posted a couple months back where Gary actually came up with a concept for a blog, did a search on Google for advertisers in that space and actually called the first advertiser on the list live on the video. What transpires next is an incredible real life example of what a sales person does and what you as an independent blogger need to do if you want to monetize your blog.

This is one of the best videos I have ever seen on how to monetize a blog in particular and good advice on how to sell in general.

I have loved Gary’s energy and enthusiasm ever since I first met him at the first BlogWorld in 2007 but as a salesmen I have a whole new respect for him.

You see creating great content is not enough. You need to be able to sell it.  If you are a great writer and you have built a community around your site you can make money but you need to be able to sell like Gary just demonstrated if you ever have a hope of making a dime.

If you can’t sell then you better find someone who can sell your blog for you. The truth is most of us will never have hundreds of thousands of readers but you don’t need that big of an audience to monetize your content.

If you have 2,000 regular readers on your site and they are engaged with you and you aren’t making money, then you need to learn how to sell and who to sell to.

Gary just gave some great advice on how to do that but Jason mentioned something else that was very important. Think locally. Again a national brand is not going to write you a check for $5 or $10k but a local retailer or distributor will.

I compare blogs to traditional media; newspapers, magazines, television and radio all the time.

If your blog has more than 1,500 readers a day you need to think of your blog as a local radio station, or a local newspaper and sell it that way. If you can sell like Gary or can find someone who can sell like that, then there is no reason you can’t make a nice income from your blog.

You can check out Gary’s 2008 Keynote at BlogWorld here.

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