Klout is a free online service that “measures influence across the social web.” You would think that when an entity decides to go live with this kind of service that they would have fundamental policies and practices in place. You know the kind of practices and policies to not only provide this service as consistently and as accurately as possible, but to deal with problems gracefully as well. It is looking more and more like Klout has either disregarded these practices altogether or are trying to experiment with these practices and policies on their live production environment. Either way this is looking very bad for them. There have been numerous articles and observations on how their algorithm is easily gamed and how some speculate it relies on an archaic model of measuring networks versus influence, but my biggest problem with Klout is how they manages problems.
Several times in the last few months something drastic has gone awry with the majority of user influences which is the foundation of their service and what has the response been? The response has been to leave the system up and running while obviously broken and to provide the typical vague and honestly bullshit customer service replies that do not address what the real problem is or when this pain point can be expected to be resolved. When you take the plunge and build your business model on something that some people can take very seriously, leaving up broken results and not providing an honest and open answer is a sure fire way to shoot yourself in the foot. Klout has a lot of growing up to do in this department and they could seriously benefit from taking a few simple steps to helping themselves in future outages or algorithm quirks.
First thing first Klout could really benefit from actually taking their service down for the periods when something is obviously broken. They can do this as simply as Twitter with their use of the Fail Whale, and maybe even have a statement saying what the issue is and most importantly state that they are working on resolving it. Being more open on their social media presences is also a huge step in building their own clout when Klout goes down for a while. Instead of making users chase their own takes and ‘reconnecting networks’ that were never disconnected and honestly won’t solve their issues they can prepare an honest and open statement saying what went wrong and a broad estimate of its rectification. I am not saying they need to set an exact time, but saying something like “We are currently investigating the issue and expect to have it resolved later on in the day” is a great alternative.
Once Klout actually realizes that they are dealing with actual human beings and not the numbers they put on their profiles, and evolve to deal with their problems more gracefully then I just might recommend Klout as a tool for measuring social influence on the web. Until then it is yet another handy tool for connecting with other like minded individuals, nothing more.
The Weekly Article Roundup as it will be called is a selection of my favorite design, branding, and social media articles/blog posts of the past week. I find the following articles to be both informational and inspiring to these fields and I hope you find them to be as well!
— Jason ‘JRob’ Lester (@JRob_) January 26, 2012
This is a very well written and brief article that simply illustrates how you can put together fundamental principles to form a great site that serves as an effective and passionate call to action for a cause or organization. The inspiring examples help to illustrate the points further. Props to Stephanie Hamilton for a wonderful article here.
— Jason ‘JRob’ Lester (@JRob_) January 24, 2012
The next article from 1st Web Designer is a comprehensive guide for creating that landing page that nobody can resist. Dainis does a wonderful job breaking down every step and minor detail which I think could be helpful across the board from a novice designer looking to make the most impact to someone who wants a good checklist for an existing site. This is a long article but it is definitely worth reading and keeping bookmarked.
— Jason ‘JRob’ Lester (@JRob_) January 16, 2012
The last entry for the week is a video by PBS Arts. The video is from the show Off Book and is all about Typography. This video is an inspiring look into just how much typography plays a role in day to day life. I find this to be all in all a very interesting episode with great examples for inspiration and definitely an eye opener.
If you have any articles or blog posts you would like to share feel free to leave a comment below.
“The Corporate Creative” By Andy Epstein is a handy how to for the creative that finds him or herself working as a designer in a corporate setting (not in a studio or creative business.) What I really like about this book is that it doesn’t focus on one career level, a novice, journeyman or seasoned senior designer will find useful and helpful tips in this book for succeeding in this setting. This is essential for the reason that a designer in any level of their career path can end up at one level or another in a corporate setting. A designer fresh out of school may find the allure of this setting while a more seasoned designer may find that he or she has been given a great full time job offer after completing a few freelance projects.
The book itself is a smooth read and quite interesting. I find its mix of advice, and scenarios in its down to earth and never dry delivery makes this a book worth buying and keeping.
The advice offered spans across many aspects of this different and mysterious setting. From project management to office politics and to ‘client’ interaction, the corporate setting is a truly foreign experience from the studio or freelance landscape. The differences and pros and cons I could write about from personal experience, but that may be better suited for another article.
The book is a great resource and I would definitely recommend buying it. The book can be found on amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Corporate-Creative-Thriving-House-Designer/dp/1600614183 I would recommend reading this cover to cover and keeping it as an encyclopedia for its content matter thereafter.
- On a side note this is my first article book review, and I will be writing a few more down the line. If you have or know of any similar books that you would like to discuss, or have any suggestions into books that interest you, feel free to leave a comment.