Top threats to the Internet and SM!

I believe that the two biggest threats to the wide open Web and social media as we know it are the potential dominance of:

  1. Facebook as a social media platform and
  2. Klout as an SM-rater.

Facebook is an evolving closed system that threatens to overtake the WWW as the world wide information space. Further evidence of this trend was the launching of the WSJ facebook site this week: WSJ Social, For a World Where Facebook Is the New Internet – Forbes (thanks @laurelschirr)

The Klout threat is even more insidious as it can change the behavior of social media participants. As people seek higher Klout scores for K-rewards, status or even job screening tricks reminiscent of commercial website SEO will come to twitter, FB, etc. For example someone would likely increase a Klout score by:

  • More frequent postings,
  • Hot topics (“what if Justin #Bieber and Lady #Gaga hooked-up?”)
  • Following people with high scores, and
  • Only following back half of followers.

Does that sound like a social world? See this article, also from Forbes: How Do You Like Being Publicly Scored?

Do you agree that these are THE two big threats?

[A couple earlier articles of mine on Klout: Why Klout is dangerous; Will Klout Kill Community? ]

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5 Responses to Top threats to the Internet and SM!

  1. Insightful post! Facebook’s increasing influence is a problem but not that big one. It will keep on evolving and after some years, it will be totally different than we know it now.

    But yeah…Klout’s influence will definitely damage our perception of Social media, irreversibly. People will start to act in more selfish and spamy way just to improve their score, which ain’t gonna fulfill the real purpose of social media. But let’s hope for the best

  2. luke w says:

    Very interesting discussion points, thanks for the article. The implications for the authenticity of user’s interactions on FB as Klout gains greater rewards / powers / importance could potentially be very disruptive. However, as FB still remains a social community of people seeking to relate to each other meaningfully, individuals acting more like brands and clearly deploying SEO-style tricks would probably stand out. FB’s value to employers is heavily reliant on its users remaining authentic, if Klout disrupted the actions of a community in a way that FB felt was reducing the value of their network, it’s possible to imagine the two falling out.

    Luke Winter
    Community Manager

  3. gschirr says:


    Thank you for commenting!

    I agree that there will be peer pressure to remain authentic on FB and other SM platforms, hopefully — at least in part — countering the temptation to game Klout scores. But I do worry about SEO-type tricks gradually debasing social platforms.

    – Gary

  4. Good post Gary. Empire Avenue has the same issues as Klout. At the end of the day they are little more than social “games” and people figure out how to game the system and then adapt their social behaviors accordingly.

    As a media planning and buying professional for 25 years, I only trust third party services to quantify true reach and measurements. if Klout were of value, they would go the way of Nielsen or comScore or ABC or other trusted sources.

    As of now, Klout means very little.

  5. gschirr says:


    Thanks for the feedback!

    They seem to think they defeat gaming by making their scoring more transparent: which actually results in more gaming! Let’s all: tweet more often, choose trending topics, and unfollow followers with low Klout scores… will these rules make SM more social??

    Thanks again!

    – Gary

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