The Psychology of Social Media Influence – The Power of Klout and Kred

notebook_brain_electrodes_400_clr_10862In my research of what makes us “tick”, “turns us on”, and “how consumers and businesses connect” on social media, one of the psychological and technological issues that has tremendous interest to me is the role that *Klout* and *Kred* play in our social media psychology and behavior.

What especially intrigues me, for those that use these services, is the power and influence Klout or Kred scores have over our social media behavior.   It has even been suggested that Klout and Kred reward social media addiction and anti-social personal behavior.  It clearly is easy to see that if you decide to unplug from social media your Klout and Kred scores will drop off the face of the earth rather quickly.  What is more difficult is to get those scores back up.

klout-score-high-reskred-logoThis is where Klout and Kred become a question for me psychologically.  It appears there are only 3 ways to really boost your Klout and Kred scores and none of them are either healthy or truly social:

1. Become a Celebrity or get Famous

This is particularly disturbing to me because it means you don’t even have to use social media as a celebrity, you just have to have a profile and have Klout and Kred.  Celebrities according to Klout and Kred have a tremendous amount of influence.  Well there is no doubt that they do have influence over a number of people, yet it is interesting to me that the top accounts on Twitter do not even have to be active and they have high Klout and Kred.  Meaning that is not necessary to be social on social media according to Kred, you just need fame, fortune, and celebrity status.  If you have that, you don’t have to worry about your scores at all.  If you don’t have to use it the way it is intended then “what’s the point”?
2.  Social Media Addicts and -Aholoics

This is the most social of the social media users.  They are on updating constantly chatting, tweeting, posting, sharing, and updating.  They are on all of the platforms all the time.  They are interactive using the platforms the way they are intended.

However, the problem is they have no life.  When you with them in person they are always looking at their phone.  They do not respond to you.  This happened at dinner meeting.  The person was sitting across from me, she had her phone in her lap.  She asked me to generate some business ideas for her.  As I was doing so she was looking at her phone in her lap.  I watched this behavior, so I said, “I think you should climb a telephone pole and jump into a vat of acid…what do you think?”  She said, “Oh, I hadn’t thought about that, that sounds interesting”.  By the way I do this often with the social media addicted.  Once the dopamine starts flowing it appears that the auditory system connected to the temporal lobe no longer functions.  Clearly this is not healthy psychologically or behaviorally.  The fact is I find myself sometimes being so absorbed within in social media you could tell me that you are taking all my money and I would probably say, “Oh that’s nice”.
3.  The Scheduled and Automated Person

I see this more and more, as matter of fact I am fairly certain that most of Twitter is nothing, but robots and scheduled tweets.  I found it interesting that Dan Zarrella in his research discovered that Twitter accounts about 1000 followers have very few actual conversational interactions with other people.  However, now it makes sense.  It’s because most of Twitter isn’t about social at all it’s a bunch of people who have automated information they have found and then posting it.  However, Klout and Kred again do not care that you are not being truly interactive, as long as your robot can post for you…you can build Klout and Kred.  Heck you don’t even have to be real to have Klout.  You just have to have the right robot posting for you.

Look I get Klout and Kred, I do think they tell us something about influence, but I am also convinced that psychologically paying attention to a Klout or Kred score can contribute to our personal interaction with people outside of the social media world.

I have to be honest it is hard for me to turn away from social media when my Klout score takes a dip.  I get this uncomfortable feeling that if my Klout score is not 65 or better that I will lose some sense of credibility.  This in of itself is a problem, because I do not want to post just to post, I want what I post to have real meaning and valuable interaction for my readers.  I am not sure what the answers are, but I know one thing is for sure we probably need to take a look what these scores really mean and alter our perceptions of how valuable they are.

As always I welcome your thoughts.

Stay Psyched My Friends!

Jay izso, Internet Doctor®

 

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