Pop Goes the Klout Influence Bubble

Remember the dot com bubble?

Webvan.com and Pets.com were nice ideas, but they didn’t deserve the levels of investment or credibility they received. At best, they were ahead of their time.  The dot com bust ensued.

Wherever there is hype, a bubble is right behind.

Klout is getting a lot of hype right now, and we may be facing an “online influence bubble”.  It’s a bubble driven by passionate people like me that wanted to believe our hard work and social networking success could be easily measured with an algorithm and score.

I wanted to believe in a shortcut, that technology could accelerate a rise to the top, that I could use content and engagement to bypass the old waiting game.

Sadly, it’s not there yet.

It simply can’t measure influence correctly.  Yes, those with high Klout scores are usually influential people online, but what about everyone it misses?  What about Jack Welch?

Online influence is not the main type of influence, yet.

Until it is (I believe it’s headed that way), we must remember offline influence is still how most decision makers make decisions.  This doesn’t mean that Klout is irrelevant, it just means that it’s not a mission critical issue for leaders right now.

Unless you are an internet marketer, social media consultant or blogger, Klout is not something critical to your career.  That may change, but first the bubble will pop and we’ll rebuild this online influence measurement idea without the hype.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Here is a brief overview of my personal thoughts:

  1. Due to it’s growing power, Klout needs to self regulate itself
  2. Web 3.0 is here and Klout matters
  3. Offline influence is deeper than online Klout
  4. We have probably over-hyped Klout now (this post)

I hope this is my last Klout post for a while.   Scientific measurement of human influence is a relatively new concept, and I appreciate your patience and comments while I develop my position.  I realize it seems like some flip flopping, but I can assure you I don’t have bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

Have a great night


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Analysis: Offline Influence is Deeper Than Online Klout

Spoiler Alert: If you base your entire self worth on your Klout score, you may want to read something else.  Try these instead.


Klout says I’m less influential the past few weeks because my focus has been on some new projects and the opening talk I’m presenting at a conference tomorrow.  I haven’t been tweeting much.

Am I less influential?

It appears as though I have to choose between offline and online influence.  If I have to decide, I’d like to give this some thought tonight.

Here’s what I’m seeing:

  • Online influence can affect offline relationships.
  • It doesn’t seem to go the other way as effectively.
  • Most business leaders I know aren’t blogging or using Twitter and Facebook.
  • My influence with them has no effect on my online influence.  The worlds are very separate.

If you accept that we each have only 24 hours a day, then it is necessary to choose what we do with our time (scarcity).  Should we focus on building online Klout or offline influence?

Let’s look at one situation:

I’ll use the example of Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE and author of several top business leadership books.  He has been one of the most influential people in the business community for years.

I know with 100% certainty that I am NOT more influential or important than Jack.  I laughed when I saw this:

Is that how Jack and I “stack up” in the offline world?  Do I really have 19% more influence than Jack Welch?


Would I rather have his offline influence?  Would I prefer to get $100,000 speaking fees and million dollar advances on my next book?

Or, would I rather have a higher Klout score?

Definitely not.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, but here are four conclusions I’m coming to:

  • I always give up some online influence when I focus on offline relationships
  • I give up an lower proportion of offline influence when I focus on online relationships
  • I make more money from offline relationships
  • Many of the most influential people I know have lower Klout scores than me

After looking at the issue, it looks like we’re wasting time online when we could be building more lucrative offline relationships with people who aren’t on Twitter or Facebook much.  Why are people like me so focused on Klout scores?  It looks like higher online influence means lower offline influence.

Do I feel conflicted because there’s a score for online influence and no “Standard for Influence” in the offline relationship world?  I still believe Klout scores matter.  When people are keeping score, I like to win.  It’s why I like business so much.

However, I have yet to book a speaking engagement or new consulting project because of my Klout score.  Even though I’m now less influential online, hopefully my “real life” influence goes up tomorrow morning.

Wish me luck!

Have a great night,


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Hint: You Might Want to Get on Twitter!

Home Decor?

My wife woke me up this morning asking if the marketing team at Menards chose the picture below on purpose.  I don’t think so (see for yourself).  

I was going to privately email or tweet it to them, but they don’t have twitter or a public email address on their “Contact Us” section of their website.

Menards, click here

I figure this is a great teachable point of view for any big companies that are ignoring social media as a way to communicate with their customers.  Menards does around $8 Billion in sales each year, so they should probably be interested in this “new technology” called Social Media.  

(Menards, if you’re listening, email me at Menards@8pmWarrior.com if you’d like some free consulting on using social media to engage, listen, and respond to situations like this one…it’s for more than just marketing. If you’re really feeling adventurous, tweet @Biebert)

Here’s what I tweeted, let’s see how long it takes for them to respond. http://twitpic.com/56c05n

If you wonder if I’m making it up, feel free to check it for yourself on Internet Explorer.  I tried it a couple times, still there:

  1. Go to Menards.com
  2. Click on the “More…” link on the grey menu (far right)
  3. The picture in question is under “Home Decor”

What’s your take?  Is it time for big companies to get on Twitter?

Have a great night,


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