There’s been a lot of buzz lately about Klout, the newest way to “measure” online influence. Klout tracks all interaction on your social media networks (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more) and assigned you a number from one (basically non-existent) to 100 (basically perfect—Justin Bieber has a perfect Klout score, for example).
Klout offers “Perks” and free swag from vendors to those considered to be influential in certain topics, some employers are now hiring based on Klout scores and Klout recently released an iPhone app that allows users to stalk their score on the go. Many scoff at the actual relevancy of a Klout score. In the Forbes article “Clout Vs. Klout,” Tony Greenberg argues that you “only have influence when someone else gives it to you” and that “strategic silence can be golden.”
This got me thinking, both about “Klout” and actual, in-person clout. You might have a high Klout score online, you might get re-tweets and mentions and “likes” and comments. But is anyone truly listening? Will your words actually influence others?
We all give people in our lives a “clout” score whether we realize it or not. Some people get higher clout due to their proximity in your life, such as family members and close friends (who have proven their worth over time). Others get clout due to their leadership position in your life, such as your boss, your pastor and mentors.
We all start at zero. Over time we have to build clout with others (who may not know us) in order to be influential, by being the sort of person that others admire, respect and listen to. The challenge here is that means something different for everyone.
Recently, I’ve been going through a spiritual transformation. It excites me, it’s changed me, and I want to share my testimony with everyone. But every single time I try to describe it, the words get stuck in my throat and tears–happy tears–come instead. I’m overwhelmed, and can’t find words adequate enough to describe what I’m going through.
But eventually I’ll need to find the words, and use them to witness to others the power of what I’ve experienced. When I do, will I have built enough clout for it to make an impact?
Klout might rank me at a score of 54 (at current press time), but what is my real score? Up to this point, I believed by using “strategic” silence I could influence others. But I now realize it takes both words and action to influence. I have to both be the example, and speak in a way that resonates with others.
That means I have some work to do. You might, too.