Why Klout meets Yahoo is the beginning of Digital Darwinism
People that have seen me talk in real life may have noted a pet topic. I tend to flag up the Darwinian potential of Klout and the notion of ‘influencers’ they champion. Well folks turns out I was right and it is all kicking off with a little help from Yahoo. See above.
Remember that Florida digital marketing professor who vowed to grade his students at the end of the year by their Klout score? Well he was right too, actually if not ethically.
The algorithmic ranking of the citizenry has well and truly begun. This is why I started the Twitter account @EthicalAlgos.
I appreciate starting a (barely used) Twitter account to resist the rise of algos is a bit of a u-shaped gun but hey…what are you doing?
As noted in the bio for EA - I do think we should think about the potential for good in mass, social algos. They could be revolutionary. Even Klout could be used to empower social meritocracy and connect experts in certain, scored topics.
Perhaps a Klout score, if brilliantly and non-commercially scored, would be better than the current genetic and birthplace lottery we currently have.
Imagine the difficulty though - handicapping the algos, digital death duties on legacy Twitter accounts (yep) - an amazing challenge but one littered with difficulties and profoundly subjective.
As for today’s news however….I really can’t see this development in a positive light. Will a desperate company act ethically, spending millions on a vast philosophical connundrum rather than grab a quick buck? I’ll leave that I/O to you.
What we should fear from this is obvious. Soon there will be a digital divide that is about more than broadband access - already an online elite exists - ironically separated from their followers by them.
Do we really want to entrench hierarchy by slamming the algo trapdoor on everyone else?