Finishing off a short film here on clapping, copying and clicking on the web, called Clickclap.

And getting ready for the OI conference where Kred and Klout will feature.

For those of you unfamiliar, these are apps that measure social influence – they offer ‘your full influence story’ and ‘the standard for influence’.

Something about these apps turns me off – though I love analytics generally – and I’ve worked out what it is.

It’s the idea that ‘online social influence’ should be of great import, maybe more than what people make, invent and produce.

Why Comparison is Useful

For all sorts of reasons, comparing ourselves to others can be helpful. We get to benchmark ourselves, and if wise, ask ‘What is that person/enterprise doing to be successful and can I do a bit more of it?’ It makes it easier to set goals.

BUT the extent to which we copy others is quite extraordinary and often unconscious, making it easy to lose sight of what we offer as individuals that is distinctive.

And computers are in essence copying machines, encouraging us to make copying behaviour our default online.

The ‘Matthew effect’ based on words from the bible is a kind of rich-get-richer phenomenon, observed in science and education. Celebrated scientists receive exponential growth in citations, often not based in truth. Early readers get accumulative educational advantage. People with 2000 Facebook Likes will attract many more Likes from similar amounts of traffic, than someone with 5…

Sorry to be bleedin obvious, but we want to associate with success and we want to travel with our herd. And sometimes we do this at the expense of producing something interesting from ourselves.

Anti-Social Networking

Much social networking is based on what’s called a ‘weak tie’…someone you’re happy to pass the time of day with, exchange pleasantries and then move on…

I don’t know about you, but I’ve limited time and attention for this. Twitter, favourite network here helpfully formats content so it can be subject-focussed via hashtags: you can find others who share your passion for Weimaraners, font analysis or coleslaw.

Maybe social networking generally is massively inflated in its significance, by people with a vested interested in propagating this idea.

What bothers me about Klout and Kred is that they prioritize the wannabe over the wanna create.

And there are so many opportunities online and offline to make and produce via free software, conference speaker opportunities and connecting to people with similar interests.

JK Rowling, Tim Berners-Lee, Kathryn Bigelow, Sergey Brin and Larry Page : can you picture them peering at Klout or Kred – or are they doing something a bit more, um, productive?