12 Most Hilarious Strategies for Leading an Angry Twitter Mob Against Klout

12 Most Hilarious Strategies for Leading an Angry Twitter Mob Against Klout

Leadership may be defined in part as a process of influence.

Strangely, as I was searching for definitions of leadership I saw this list of leadership synonyms on Dictionary.com: authoritativeness, influence, command, effectiveness; sway, clout (emphasis mine).

However, many may know of another spelling:  Klout with a “K”

Klout defines itself as the arbiter of social media influence.  In their words, they provide The Standard for Influence.  When the company recently unleashed their new algorithm, many people in social media saw their scores radically drop. For those schooled on this “credibility” framework, it was disorienting or irritating.

A low Klout score is a rather silly benchmark in the grand scheme of things.  However, for many professional marketing and social media folks, a high score has an economic translation.

So, it was no surprise that there were angry reactions on Twitter and Facebook. Klout’s “exciting” announcement failed to please anyone on the user side of the experience. Klout was unprepared for the backlash. CEO/Cofounder Joe Fernandez was hit with a barrage of unflattering comments on the stream, and got a “tweeting-to” on the popular #toolschat” on October 26.

Here’s on example from @LoriMoreno:

“Let’s be honest Joe @klout is all about us marketing products/companies you choose to partner with #toolschat#kloutgate

Bruised Klout score feelings aside, what happened that day was eight hours of a priceless example of an opportunistic leadership strategy that unfolded in a funny, creative way. I’m not going to debate the merits (or lack thereof) of Klout, nor am I endorsing the subject of this article, @OccupyKlout, or its attempted association (however humorous) with the real grassroots Occupy movement. I’m interested in a one-day example of seizing an opportunity and running with it—because there was a vacuum in leadership.

So, if you want to be a leader during a time of faux crisis, here’s how it’s done:

1. Take a position and open a Twitter account

The Twittersphere awoke to low Klout scores; there were questions, and rumblings. One clever person saw an opportunityand jumped on it.

The new @Occupyklout profile reflected the new reality: Your amplification has gone down.

The first few Tweets?

“Why does @justinbieber have so much #Klout and the 99% of us starve for amplification? #OccupyKlout

“We can’t stand idly by while #Klout downgrades AMERICA. #OccupyKlout

And from there, the fun began.

 2. Build or appropriate a traffic destination

In the account profile they use a very clever website trick, Occupy Klout, which was a function designed for RebuildTheDream.org which is an actual Occupy movement social action site.

3. Enlist influencers

It didn’t take long for people to notice the #occupyklout hashtag, and even David Armano, EVP at Edelman Digital, joined in on the fun.



4. Identify with your constituents


5. Use humor to connect with people


6. Give the disenfranchised a voice



7. Get your message out to mainstream media

Both Bloomberg Business Week and Techcrunch covered the unfolding story.

8. Be frank about your shortcomings





9.  Have a clear goal





10.  Be prepared to share your profits with your supporters

 11.  Address your critics


12. Have an encouraging message





I don’t know who is behind @occupyklout. I did reach out for an interview, but didn’t get a response. For all I know, it could be a clever campaign by Klout to give unhappy people a place to vent their anger. Who knows?

As of this writing, the account has 558 followers and the messaging has slowed. A flash in the pan? Perhaps, but it sparked some truly interesting debates about a startup named Klout that very few professionals had taken the time to fully examine.

I think social media users may have forgotten that we were never Klout’s clients: we were (and are) the product.

For thoughtful opinions about Klout, visit these great articles:

A Klout Upside the Head by Bob LeDrew on Danny Brown’s blog

Is Klout on the Way Out?  by @jkcallas

50 Kloutless Ways To Get Value From Twitter

Carol Quinn


Carol Quinn is the author of Follow My Lead: What Training My Dogs Taught Me about Life, Love, and Happiness (Seal Press, 2011). Carol is a strategic planner/advisor through her company ProjectQuinn, and is an adjunct faculty member at USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism.

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