Looking for Clout with a Capital K





Her lack of Klout dealt a heavy blow to her self-esteem. “I feel depressed,” the twenty-something social media marketer and private-life blogger said. “My score should be higher.”

My heart ached for this young woman. Low Klout in a Klout obsessed world is no good. A Klout score is quantitative support for one’s qualitative state of being a go-to guy or gal. An expert. An influential. A VIP – literally. Event organizers use Klout scores to put together invitation lists to fashion shows and charity events. It has been suggested that a high Klout score on a resume indicates someone’s social media savvy and might open doors to a new job.

Clout has always mattered. Visions of the cool kids cafeteria table and mean girls with perfect curls come to mind. Cliques have self-defined clout. It was just a matter of time for clout to move online, for clout to become Klout, an online popularity rating. Another number to watch.

Numbers dog us from the minute we’re born. The Apgar score measures our newborn health. The ACT or SAT broadcasts our cognitive skills to college admissions officers. When the numbers stop the letter grades take over. Performance reviews grade us above, below or at expectations.
But who needs another number to live by. I have enough benchmarks to benchmark off of, thank you. I have my chronological age and my “real age” determined by my lifestyle and genetics. My real weight and my driver’s license weight.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that real earnings are falling or stagnant, not that I needed to anyone to tell me the obvious. Investment projections sit stalled on the launching pad. The value of my home? Let’s not talk about it.

So while I guess having clout is better than having no clout just like being popular is probably better than being unpopular – at least it was in high school and in one of my early jobs when having lunch with the boss was a sure sign of good things to come – I don’t want to play the popularity game anymore.

My online friends are real friends or at least someone I met once with whom I don’t mind sharing a mundane daily event – “gluten free pancakes today, not so bad,” or exciting news – “published!” I link in with people I know. Really. If I don’t know you the invitation sits in pending purgatory.

At this point you might be ready to say, “Liar, liar, pants on fire. You have a blog and it’s connected to your online networks. You love it if someone “likes” something you write or shares it with their friends.” Oh – maybe that’s my conscious speaking.

Yes, the above is true. Guilty as charged. But I much prefer increasing my reach organically versus strategically building my Klout score. For if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that if someone doesn’t want me eating at his table, then maybe it’s a table I don’t want to be eating at either. Or maybe I’m just not ready for that table. Or it’s his loss, not mine. Believe me, I’ve learned many things about this popularity game.

So, to the young woman with Klout score induced depression I suggest taking a deep breath and then getting back to doing what comes naturally. Reach out and respond to others. Share interesting ideas. Link. Friend. Like. Tweet like a bird. Yelp like a dog. Digg it or don’t. Just don’t push it. Real clout and influence will come when the time is right and not a minute too soon or too late.


  1. Peter McNally

    Well said Julie!!

  2. I agree, Linda, and think that if you try to be raelly good at all of them, you will end up being good at none of them.Then your Klout score will definitely go down!

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