I remember the days when I’d spend hours poring over HTML and CSS documentations so I could edit my Myspace page to make it look like how I want it. However, even with all my hard work and unique minimalistic look, my profile never obtained anywhere near the numbers of friends that some of my girl friends’ (note the space, it’s a very important distinction) bedazzled pages with multiple youtube videos auto-playing simultaneously had. I grew up and learned that these arbitrary numbers of “how many friends you have” aren’t actually an indicator of anything about a person. Or I could have just feigned a certain level of enlightenment to justify to myself why I’m a big ol’ fat loser. Either way, I become completely apathetic towards this rat race for a higher number.
Yet, people have become more obsessed about achieving a higher score. The number of followers on twitter give that person a lot of credibility, where breaking a certain threshold of followers is a news-worthy story. Services like Klout are popping up that aggregate all of your social networks and comes up with a number that serves as a metric for your influence or, some could say, clout. But should a number matter? Just because you got a couple of thousand people to follow you, does that automatically mean that what you say matters to all of those people? Most importantly, how does it affect the score when those scores can be manipulated?
We live in a society now where a certain amount of followers or subscribers give a person credibility. The number of fans, likes, followers are now being handled like a business. There are services that, for a certain price, will get you a higher number. It manipulates the number that supposedly gives you credibility. With this manipulation, it’s hard to discern which contributing factors are genuine and which aren’t since all add up to one number. It’s easier to be deceived by this than by media bias or product placement. Being vigilant and never assuming credibility based off a number are really the only things one can do to prevent being conned.
There are also some experts saying that one day, society will be based on a system of currency not entirely unlike Klout. Hopefully, it won’t be so easy to hack then!