Tomorrow I am giving a keynote luncheon at the Triangle AMA on "How To Think About Online Influence," and my hope is that this talk will do just what it says on the tin: provide a framework for how to think about these measures, not what to think. As I was putting the finishing touches on my slides (and there's still time to register, denizens of NC), it struck me that, since we don't really know what these services actually measure, what do we wish they measured?
Here's my twisted fantasy - and tell me if it doesn't closely resemble yours. As of today, my Klout score is a solid 64. If Klout worked the way we wish it did, I would tell you to do something - say, make me some nachos. You would then pull out 2 10-sided dice (you know, from your old Dungeons and Dragons days). You would then have to make a saving throw against being bent to my will. If you roll greater than a 64, you are off the hook and on your merry way.
But if you roll a 64 or under (modified by your Willpower, of course), then you're making me those damn nachos. And if you roll a "00," you are making them for me every day (Critical Fail!)
A joke? Sure. But the way some marketers are actually using these numbers to make decisions is even funnier.
NOW MAKE ME SOME NACHOS.