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Klout and Self-Confidence

by Alexandra Williams on September 7, 2011

The good, bad, and uglyClout – pull, influence

Klout – measure of your online influence

Self-Confidence – confidence in oneself or one’s own abilities

And that’s as much defining as I’ll be doing in this post, as most of you are probably already aware of Klout! This post is about the effect on self-confidence of having a high Klout score.

Long, long ago, in a land far, far away (Colorado), I earned my MA in Counseling. In my mind, that qualifies me to effectively nag my children AND muse on the way events affect people. So as I watch my score rise, I have been observing my reactions with interest and amusement.

According to Joe Fernandez, Klout’s founder, a higher score means you have more influence.

After I found out that anything above 40 was a “high” score, I started to feel pretty good about myself because my score was waaaay above 40. That makes me special, right? At least, I started to feel special.

When my sister got a Perk and I didn’t, I felt like a bit of a loser; deflated and a bit resentful. Was all my time spent on Twitter, doing “useful things” (as Winnie-the-Pooh might say), just a waste? That big Klout box with her Perk just sat on the counter, mocking me for the loser I was.

But, being an optimistic person, I had a talk with myself and went right back to tweeting, possibly to reassure myself that my friends were still there, even if I did have that scarlet Loser letter floating above my head.

Then the Perks started flowing in, and I discovered I was feeling better about all the time spent on social media, and pleased at being seen as an influential person. No matter that I already have a circle of friends and professional reputation; I felt validated by Twitter & Klout.

Then I thought carefully, “Wow, does an algorithim really have that much power over me, that my opinion of myself, in this setting, is tied to a number than fluctuates?”

Yes, I feel good about my score, and yes, I feel like other people on Twitter give me a bit more respect (along with the ribbing I take from my pals).

But I decided that the purpose of having influence is to help others – that’s how I gain confidence in myself and my reputation.

So when new tweeters with low scores follow me, I follow them right back (as long as they’re actual humans). From my understanding, that helps them.

I checked out a site that suggested I should interact more with high Klout scorers if I wanted to increase my own score, but I felt cheesy about that. Didn’t we call that sucking up back in school (okay, maybe at work too, in the 80s)?!

I still check my Klout profile a LOT, but only because I think a car or mobile device Perk might someday magically appear with my name on it, but I don’t care so much anymore about the dips and lifts in my score. I feel like I’ve risen to the “stature” my number supposedly gives me by continuing to interact with my long-term friends and newcomers alike.

And if you know me, that means a combination of researched fitness information and snark!

I made up a new motto; see if you agree:  Bring on the Perks, but don’t be a jerk!

Truly, isn’t that the best way to grow a business… all boats lifted up together by women who use their (supposed or real) influence to feel good about themselves and others?

Image: quinn.anya via Flickr, Creative Commons

Alexandra Williams, MA, co-writes Fun and Fit: Q and A with K and A, a humorous fitness blog with her twin sister, Kymberly, in the hope that readers will laugh themselves into a fit state. Together they speak at events, on the radio and in public rest stops. Alexandra is a contributing editor and writer for IDEA Fitness Journal, and teaches in the exercise sports studies department at UC Santa Barbara. Talk to Alexandra on Twitter, where she goes by @Alexandrafunfit.

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