The reason for writing it was a post by Shel Israel, to which Eric’s strong reaction was:
I personally think that any company or individual who is making a hiring or contracting decision based on our data, Klout scores, or any number is making a huge mistake!
Eric also added:
Also, in version 3.0 last year and as a general rule we have moved away from “influence” as a primary metric, instead preferring our “impact” calculation which we think A) is more comprehensive and B) is much more well-aligned with a business use of Twitter.
Probably to avoid any confusion whatsoever, in addition Eric stated:
(…) to use Twitalyzer (or Klout for that matter) to make any decision about an individual other than broadly how they use Twitter as a tool is a mistake and does disservice to the individual, Twitter, and our analytics platform.
There, he said it. And he is absolutely right. And I am glad that this is finally being said by someone who is knee-deep into the matter himself, and can know.
Feeling undervalued, unappreciated, small, unimportant, out of control, unloved, neglected and / or ignored can be considered a basic trait in most people that is developed at a young age. I consider that to be a False Feeling, and the usual reaction to it is trying to prove the opposite: showing you are valued, big, important, in control, loved, appreciated and influential.
Tabloids, gossip and celebrity sites thrive on this: they show us those who are perceived to be at that opposite side.
And then, for those on Twitter, tools come along who show who’s incrowd. None of us ever make it into the tabloids, but now it ranks us among the welebrities. It assigns us a score, a number, and a description. And some of it call it influence what they measure – wow, Influence!
Finally, our false dream comes through: we are within reach of our futile goal, namely pursuing a False Compensation for a False Feeling: it is a never-ending cycle of proving ourselves innocent of a crime that was never committed.
At best, these tools measure interaction on Twitter. Whether that is positive or negative interaction isn’t even told. Whether people interact with other people because they want to share a piece of their spotlight or just because they have a sincere interest, is impossible to tell. You can’t measure influence at all, you can only measure how much you interact with people perceived to be important.
There is a name for people desperately trying to interact with people they idolise: stalkers.
Like Eric says, these tools only measure Twitter use – and nothing more than that. If handled wrongly, they will follow the rules of Climbing the Ladder of Lacking Self-esteem: you get up higher by looking down on others, but will always keep perceiving The Lack because you simply aspire to be at or at least in the top.
Start thinking for yourself by starting to feel good about yourself. Stop hoping these tools will show how influential you and others are, and start seeing them for what they are: tools, one (far) more accurate and transparent than the other in measuring different kinds of Twitter use.
And please, stop falling for the Marketing 1.0 trick. We live in a 2.0 world.
(Cross-posted @ Business or Pleasure? – why not both)